Wednesday, April 19, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "In Summer"

Hello and welcome to day 19 of  ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: Be sure to check in with Pat at Writer on a Horse to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I have a portrait that looks so much like one of my nieces! Except my niece is 10, and the model for this portrait, Lise Trehot, is 20. According to Wikipedia, Lise was a favorite model of Renoir's, appearing in at least 23 of his paintings. Here's what Lise told me:

In Summer
- after “In Summer” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

I long for
the peppermint
days of fall

when the future
isn't a worry
at all

the air is sharp
to keep me
awake –

not like these
taffy days
at the lake

- Irene Latham

Okay, so, yes, a little bit of me in this poem! I am not a huge fan of summer's heat and bugs and sun and exhaustion... and doesn't Lise look weary here? I think my niece who so greatly resembles Lise would also agree. :) And isn't it in those lazy times that our minds turn to worries? In fall, who has time for such leisures? At least that's MY experience. Thanks so much for reading!


  1. She does look weary....poor thing having to laze away the days by the lake! My mom would have taken care of that in two shakes with chores. Fortunately, I was always busy with a book. Still, I love the voice of this girl and candy lover.

  2. Love your use of taffy to describe the slow,sticky days of summer. And peppermint . . . Who doesn't love the zing it brings?

  3. It's intriguing to read the words you've imagined, Irene. Lise does look a bit weary from those warmer days. I love 'taffy' too, as Ramona shared, and like hearing about Lise's popularity with Renoir.

  4. I love it when you bring me words not heard in ages such as "taffy," Irene.
    I love your artfully said alternate take on summer. It make me think.

    Wishing you shade & cooling breezes.

  5. These two candies are just spot on..."peppermint days of fall." I think you must come to Western New York one fall. You would love it! Sharp and lovely indeed! I will take you leaf peeping! x


Your thoughts?