Thursday, April 28, 2016

ARTSPEAK! 2016: Poem #29 "These Al Fresco Summer Nights"

Hello, and Happy Poetry Friday! Can you believe it's the final Friday of the month? Wow! Just one more poem to go... be sure to visit Buffy's Blog for Roundup.

A great big WELCOME to day 29 of my National Poetry Month poem-a-day-project ARTSPEAK! in which I respond to images found in the online collections at the National Gallery of ArtBig big THANK YOU for those who have stopped by to read these poems and leave comments. You make me smile, and you inspire me. Mwah!

And another THANK YOU to the creative, fearless  poets who've contributed this year to our Progressive Poem, now titled (by Heidi!) "West Wing Dreams of Taking Shape." What a marvelous journey it's been this year! Please visit Sheila Renfro's blog to read the next-to-last line.

 This year's ARTSPEAK! theme is "Plant. Grow Eat." It was inspired by the release of my latest book FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers' Market.
Here are the poems so far:

"Strawberry Basket" after Strawberry Basket by William Spiecker
"When We Meet in the Garden" after The Artist's Garden at Argentheuil - A Corner of the Garden with Dahlias by Claude Monet
"Sunday Afternoon" after Madame Monet and her Son by Auguste Renoir
"Let Us Now Praise Leafy Things" after The Gardener - Old Peasant with Cabbage by Camille Pissarro"Just Like the Garden" after On the Fence by Winslow Homer
"What Grapes Say" after Plate by Dorothy Posten
"A Dream of Wheat" after Field of Green Wheat by Vincent van Gogh
"Fruit Jar" after Fruit Jar by J. Howard Iams
"Child in the Garden" after The Artist's Garden at Vetheuil by Claude Monet
"Math Lesson (from the Garden)" after Still Life with Lemons and Oranges wit Blue Gloves" by Vincent van Gogh
"Gardening Basics" after The Watering Can/Emblems: the Garden by Roger de La Fresnaye
"Mary in the Garden" after Reading in the Garden by Pompeo Mariani
"This Wheelbarrow" after A Woman Emptying a Wheelbarrow by Camille Pissarro
"A Dream of Sheep" after Warm Afternoon by Winslow Homer
"Harvest" after The Last Days of Harvest by Winslow Homer
"Anticipation (in the Garden) after George Moore in the Artist's Garden by Edouard Manet
"Gathering Fruit" after Gathering Fruit by Mary Cassatt
"Bread's Lament" after Boy with Basket of Fruit by an unknown American artist
"After the Fire" after Ruined Farm by Hubert Robert
"Cow at the Gate" after Landscape with Open Gate by Pieter Molijin
"I Am the Plate" after Still Life with Milk Jug and Fruit by Paul Cezanne
"Courtship (According to the Cat)" by Winslow Homer
"Courage" after Planting Corn by Stanley Mazur
"Orchard Barber Shop" after Gardener Pruning a Tree by Jacques Callot
"Gardener's Companion" after The Watering Can by Georges Seurat
Today's poem is inspired by a magical (to me) piece "Repast in the Garden" by Edouard Vuillard. It's magical because I love dusk, love lighting the mosquito torches and taking our supper out to our back porch, which overlooks our woodsy, private backyard. We keep chair cushions and a little caddy of silver and napkins and salt-n-pepper and such right by the back door, always at the ready. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we laugh, sometimes we just listen to the world around us. I tried to put some of that magic into the poem.

These Al Fresco Summer Nights

Sky is
the napkin
we spread
on our laps

as firefly
on off
on off

and small hands
lift a plate
for, More,

just before
the sun
the trees.

- Irene Latham


  1. "Sky is the napkin we spread on our laps" = *swoon*
    Have thoroughly enjoyed your poem project. You selected such gorgeous paintings to begin with and always brought such a refreshing perspective to each.

    And thank you for the lovely poetry month postcard!! :)

  2. As if "Sky is/ the napkin/ we spread/ on our laps" weren't beautiful enough, you follow up with "firefly/ chandeliers." Swoon, indeed.

  3. Yes, that sky is the napkin line is swoon-worthy! I want to join you for supper on the back porch!

  4. Like those above, I love that "sky is the napkin we spread . . .", too, Irene. You bring such a gentle feel with the poem today. I love eating outside on those balmy summer nights. It's snowing today-again!-so your poem makes me wish even more for summer!

  5. I love "sky is the napkin we spread . . ." and "firefly chandeliers" - such a lovely poem, Irene.

  6. I agree with the others - that opening image and those chandeliers - brilliant!

  7. I'm swooning too...just beautiful, Irene.

  8. Okay. Another swoon. And maybe can we have a poets' gathering on your back porch someday? I'll bring the wine.

  9. You make me want to eat supper on the deck! Only, we have no firefly chandeliers here. (Beautiful imagery)

    I've really enjoyed your series of ekphrastic poems through this month, Irene. Thank you!

  10. Oh, I love "sky is the napkin we spread on our laps!" And "firefly chandeliers!" Lovely!


Your thoughts?