Thursday, April 20, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "What to Do in the Desert"

Hello and welcome to day 20 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 BJ at Blue Window to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

19. "In Summer" after In Summer by Auguste-Pierre Renoir
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've got a desert girl for you. Some readers may recall that I lived for a time in Saudi Arabia. Some of my most vivid memories of that land include the ginormous red sand dunes against blue sky. Awe-inspiring for sure! Here's what this desert girl had to say:

What to Do in the Desert
- after "Nubian Girl" by Ervand Demirdjian


drink the stars

bury your doubt
in a shipwreck of wind

walk along
a skeleton of forever

don't stop

draw your sword
of sunshine

invite sand
to nest in your eyes

shout I'm alive

- Irene Latham

Readers, this doesn't usually happen, but I was revising this one as I was creating the graphic... which is frustrating! There is always revising to be done, isn't there? Thanks so much for reading!


  1. Absolutely lovely! I was hooked with the line, "Drink the stars."

  2. I've spent time in the Sonoran Desert but nothing like Saudi Arabia's. I love the idea of "shipwreck of wind", though might not want to live in it.

  3. Wonderful! Love the sword of sunshine and the last line! As before, your choice of portrait is stunning. :)

  4. gorgeous! drink stars, forever's skeleton. You are racking up a good bunch of poems this month!


Your thoughts?