Sunday, April 16, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Morning"

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! Here it is, Easter! Happy Easter!! And also day 16 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my 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 Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

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 jumped over to Japan to find out what this lovely young woman had to say:

- after “Buki Rinsen” by Tsuchida Bakusen

I wake
to gleaming,
to drifting.

I am not cold.

Mountains embrace me,
the lake is my pillow.

I rest on the ancient.
I wait for
the unfolding.

- Irene Latham
Readers, you will notice that the formatting is different from the graphic to the page. That's because the page version wouldn't fit. And I kind of like it! I am still deciding. :) You might also notice I used adjectives in the place of some nouns -- gleaming (for sun) drifting (for clouds) ancient (for the boulder she's sitting upon). This is just something I wanted to try, so voila! It seems to changes the poem from observation to an offering -- now the poem can mean whatever the reader needs it to mean. I like it. :) Thank you so much for reading!


  1. Happy Easter, Irene! The format does look good, perhaps especially for this portrait. I enjoyed the word choice, and made a connection between this young girl and young girls everywhere, that waiting. Lovely!

  2. Beautiful, Irene! I vote for the formatting on the graphic. I especially enjoyed the back story on your word choice. I really like "ancient" for the boulder, especially if you think of a boulder as a rock smoothed by erosion. Amazing how word choice can open a poem, making it universal.

  3. Yes, to the waiting!

    I'm a little stuck on that line, "I am not cold." She sounds like she is trying to convince herself, which gives the end of the poem, for me, a sense that she is trying to be something she's not. Maybe living into an expectation.


Your thoughts?