Friday, April 1, 2016

ARTSPEAK! 2016: Poem #1 "Triolet for Planting Day"

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! I am out adventuring with my family this week -- living my poem! -- but please be sure to visit Amy at The Poem Farm for Roundup.  

Also, be sure to check out the first line of our Progressive Poem, over at Laura's blog!


Here at Live Your Poem I am celebrating by continuing the poem-a-day-project I started last year: ArtSpeak! in which I respond to images found in the online collections at the National Gallery of Art. This year's theme is "Plant. Grow Eat." It was inspired by the release of my latest book FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers' Market.

This year I decided to start off with the "title" image. I don't know why -- it just sort of happened! 

The piece is "The Artist's Garden at Eragny" by Camille Pissarro. I love this image of the woman planting... I have known this woman (my grandmother, my mother) and I have been this woman. 

Planting a garden is full of hope, the weather is generally lovely, and there aren't yet any weeds. (Of all the garden chores, I HATE weeding. Grr.) But planting -- it's the most fun part of gardening, if you ask me! Yet, it's quite repetitious, isn't it? 

Which is how I came to write this poem as a triolet. (Remember Laura Shovan's "wild" triolet? I love it!) You'll notice that mine isn't a strict triolet, but a variation. I love variations. Truly. 

And isn't the whole poem a metaphor for what we poets are doing today, on this first (quiet) April morning of National Poetry Month? Enjoy!

Triolet for Planting Day

- after “The Artist's Garden at Eragny” by Camille Pissarro

This is the way we plant the seeds

on a quiet April morning:

Poke, press, cover is our mantra, our creed.

This is the way we plant the seeds,

as soil favors gentleness over speed.

Later, weeds may offer warning,

but today, this is the way we plant the seeds.

The garden starts on a quiet April morning.

- Irene Latham

**Listen to the poem on Soundcloud! (I am having issues embedding the track... hmmm...)


  1. "soil favors gentleness over speed"
    There's more than gardening truth here, Irene.
    I can't wait to read these all month long; I was so happy to read that ArtSpeak is back! Happy adventures! xo

  2. My favorite line is the same as Amy's. I love the repeated line of "This is the way we plant our seeds," and yet the poem becomes its own.

  3. This is so lovely. I have the same favorite line. I love the repetition and rhyme. So perfect.

  4. Would love to be working in that garden! Lovely. As the other commenters do, I like the way the soil chooses a gentle touch.

  5. I like the almost subliminal reminder of the children's song, "This is the way we wash our clothes....I'm looking forward to reading through this project.

  6. Takes me back to planting time in our huge backyard garden growing up. Love the last line: "The garden starts on a quiet April morning."

  7. Perfect preparation for a fulsome month, Irene! Thanks for sharing. I'm in with the "love the gentleness over speed" crowd, and can always use that reminder.

  8. Definitely life lessons in this little gardening plot, Irene. I think you can guess which line I love best. :)

  9. Just lovely. Beautiful words for a beautiful painting. Looking forward to more ArtSpeak!

  10. A lovely poem to start off Poetry Month! I'm looking forward to reading your poems all month long. : )

  11. Gone all day, so I'm late finding poems to savor, Irene, and this is one, an April poem for sure. Readying the garden is such a satisfying thing.I love your repeating lines, like going up & down the rows. And this: ""soil favors gentleness over speed", about gardening and living? Thank you. What a wonderful goal.

  12. The triolet works so well with this. Beautiful.

  13. I love how your April poems will be companions for your new book!

  14. That's a wonderful painting and a great choice for a starting poem. I liked your rhyming title and that same line that Amy and Margaret did. Gentleness over speed, that applies to so many things.

  15. This is such a sweet and gentle poem, Irene, and matches the painting perfectly.


Your thoughts?