Friday, April 26, 2019

ARTSPEAK: Happy! poem "The Guitarist" by Irene Latham

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! How can it be the last Friday of the month, already??! Be sure to visit Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink for Roundup.
I've been quite busy with travel and puppy and revising a verse novel (sci-fi adventure, coming 2021!) and of course, ARTSPEAK: Happy! my 2019 National Poetry Month poem a day project, in which I am responding to pieces of art that make me happy. Read why in my introductory post. This has been one of my favorite themes for sure, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm gonna miss it! Not a bad way to start each day, with a happy dose of yellow.... though the videos drove me a little crazy, especially for the first half of the month when they featured my face... I am MUCH happier with the i-movies I'm creating now, using the art and audio. Whew. I knew I would learn something about video this month, and I did. I'm still the shy girl I've always been. :)

Poems so far:
Girl in a Yellow Dress after "A Girl in a Yellow Dress, 1917" by Amedeo Modigliani
When the Stars Come to Town after "Cafe Terrace at Night" by Vincent van Gogh
On a Golden Day in May after "Checkered House" by Grandma Moses
Beach Time after "Children Playing on the Beach" by Mary Cassatt
The Weight of Happiness after "Flower Seller" by Diego Rivera
By the Sea "Coastal Scene with Gulls" by Maud Lewis
Sister Song after an untitled piece by Henry Darger
Two Cows after "2 Cows" by Maud Lewis
Girl in Hat after "Girl in Hat" by Norman Lewis
Backstage after "Dancers in Green and Yellow" by Edgar Degas. 
"So Many Suns" after Kohbar of Mithila
"To an Olive Tree" after Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun by Vincent van Gogh
"Three Black Cats" after Three Black Cats by Maud Lewis
"When Grandma Reads" after Mrs. Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren by Mary Cassatt
"On a June Afternoon" after Pigeon on a Peach Branch by Emperor Huizong
"On the Water" after On the Water by Mary Cassatt
"Autumn Prayer" after Red Vineyard at Arles by Vincent van Gogh
"Julie Manet with Cat" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
"When a Horse Writes a Poem" after Horse Head on a Yellow Background 1953 by Fernand Leger.
"Fiddle Song" after The Fiddler by Marc Chagall
"A Dream of Yellow" after Tree Against a Yellow Background by Odilon Redon
"The Letter" after The Letter by Mary Cassatt
"To a Sunflower" after Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh
"Only in Summer" after The Yellow Boat by Gustave Caillebotte
"Wish I May, Wish I Might" after Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent van Gogh

Today's piece is "Girl in Yellow and Blue with a Guitar" by Henri Matisse. I drew on my own experience as a cellist for this one... and also my memories of the early years of playing piano, of which my grandmother said I couldn't pass by the piano without playing it. And... American Idol! Alejandro, anyone??! Paul and I love watching the show. :)

The Guitarist
- after “Girl in Yellow and Blue with a Guitar” by Henri Matisse

I strum across morning –
I thrum for cardinals
and for squirrels.
How the strings buzz!

Across the bridge
of afternoon, my fingers
don't stop plucking,
picking, twanging.
Dogs sing along.

As night noodles in,
my notes call to frogs
and crickets, who rub
their own happy tunes.

And then we all rest –
the dogs, the crickets,
me and my guitar –
every single one of us
of the next day's song.

- Irene Latham

Thanks so much for reading. Be sure to visit Linda at Write Time for the latest in our Progressive Poem! We're almost to the end!



  1. Just when I think I've found my favorite poem of the month, you show up with another wonder. "As night noodles in ..." is delightful.

  2. Songs and music all the day long is a good thing, Irene, and you've made that happen with this. I do love the 'thrum' & 'strum' thoughts.

  3. "Across the bridge of afternoon . .. " Sigh, another good pairing. Matisse is a favorite for sure. Celebrate each day with music, yes!

  4. I love the way you have integrated musical vocabulary into this, especially "Across the bridge
    of afternoon,"

  5. O.M.G. YES, ALEJANDRO!!! It's so nice hearing that this intensive project isn't wearing you out, Irene. In fact, quite the opposite! Your poem says it all. Congrats on your SciFi verse novel too. I seem to recall (on FB maybe?) listening in on a recent discussion about why SciFi and novels-in-verse aren't inherently compatible, but you've never ducked from a challenge, have you?!

  6. Irene, congratulations on your verse novel that will be coming in 2021 and the continuance of your ARTSPEAK project. Matisse would be pleased to think that his painting allows you to strum across morning. What a cheerful way to start a day. Ramona is right, "As night noodles in," is a just a lovely thought. There is so much happiness in your poem, Irene.

  7. It was very lovely to see you in your first videos Irene - but I certainly can relate to your shyness. Constantly finding that balance as a writer - the love of privacy, and the need to write/hsare from the heart. Also - puppy??? Where can I see this puppy?

  8. Loving the night noodling in!
    Yesterday my poem was a stringed instrument one also!

  9. And then, we all rest....dreaming of tomorrow's song. Such a wonderful way to measure time. Now, I want a watch with this painting as the face.

  10. Classical guitar is my favorite instrument!

  11. This poem I really love Irene <3 and these parts especially,
    'Across the bridge
    of afternoon"
    "As night noodles in,
    my notes call to frogs
    and crickets, who rub
    their own happy tunes."
    So much warmth and love generating from this poem, it would be fun to illustrate too, thanks Irene! xo

  12. I love the music singing through your poem. It reminds me of hearing (she couldn't know I was listening) my daughter practice the piano and cello. I miss those sounds now that she's off to school.

  13. I've loved your project this month!


Your thoughts?