Poem up at the Ekphrastic Review

where does the body lie?

a prisoner of gravity,
it remains forever outside of dreams

unfit for the spiritship,
a vessel of startled complexity–
open, unbounded, secret, extreme


I wrote the original version (much revised) of the above 42 poem at the same time I wrote my haibun, Unattached, which is published on The Ekphrastic Review today, along with Jane’s lyrical poem, Bronze Dreams, and other varied responses to Frida Kahlo’s painting, The Dream.

My collage is once again based on a tarot card, this the the Four of Swords. Kahlo’s paining reminded me very much of the iconic Rider-Waite card, but my own interpretation drifts in between the card and the painting. I could not find out if Kahlo ever studied tarot, but she was friends with many of the Surrealists, who certainly played with its symbolism. The Four of Swords is a card of restoration and healing, just like Frida’s Dream.

I placed a photo of the interior of an Egyptian sarcophagus in the sky. The figure painted there is the sky goddess Nut, who “spreads out her arms protectively to receive the deceased. (s)He is sheltered by her, is adsorbed into her body, and emerges reborn” (Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen, “Egypt”).

You can read my poem (and Jane’s) here. My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.

19 thoughts on “Poem up at the Ekphrastic Review

    1. Thanks Ingrid. Ekphrastic can be very difficult. Not every image resonates. But I find it’s good practice to work even with images that don’t speak to me. Frida, of course, always speaks loudly!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I enjoyed your haibun. It had all the elements that go with the dreamlike painting, birds, stars and light. I like the 42 too; it’s a huge question and one that can only have a spiritual answer, open-ended and floating, like yours.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Jane. Your poem was so unexpected in that context and shone brighter for it. I hope it means they are expanding their poetic reach.
      I’m glad I rediscovered the 42. You know how I love questions.


  2. Congrats I really enjoyed both your entries! Your haibun spoke to it perfectly … this is the first FK art that isn’t a self-portrait that I’ve seen and I like it.

    Your collage has so much depth … the knives, the universe, death, you are inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had never seen the Four of Swords in Kahlo’s painting until you raised the connection; wow. And she definitely would have loved the Nut-sarcophagus. Me, I love how you raise the question of the ‘spiritship’ as something to be fit for; many of us wish it was our time but know there’s a lot of work left to do, on ourselves, on the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sun. As I was telling someone else, it was just by chance that I was looking at the card and thinking about the painting at the same time. Yes, so much work to be done. But if we work together….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations to you and Jane for your poems. This collage seems a little bolder than usual especially as the figure rests between knives. At the same time, your description of the mysterious mother with open welcoming arms gives it a wonderful balance. Tarot is something that has interested me generally speaking but have never taken a closer look at.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jade. I’ve always loved cards of all kinds, but only recently has tarot symbolism started to make sense to me. It was only by chance that I saw this card when I was thinking about the Kahlo painting… but then what is “chance”?…It’s all a mystery. (K)

      Liked by 1 person

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