My Muse Considers How to Poem Monet

veils of ephemeral light

how to paint a poem?—I ask you–
how to spell words into magic hue?

petals embossed under luminescent sun–
colors of their language far beyond my tongue–
lavender, saffron, pearl, mauve, cerulean–
phrases lack their vibrance, a pale impression

impossible to ink, to tattoo
linear reflections that sing true

veils of ephemeral light

Once again, combining a number of prompts. For Tanka Tuesday, Colleen provided the above photo of a lily from Terri Webster Schrandt. The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to “write a poem that addresses itself or some aspect of its self”. And The W3 Prompt, from Jane Aguiar, is to write a symetrelle poem that contains the word impossible.

Oh, and also Sarah at dVerse asked for a poem containing some form of yellow.

I’ve done lots of art inspired by Monet’s water lilies. I even did a book of grids and haiku inspired by them. But I’ve never even come close to the beauty of the paintings themselves in either art or words. If you ever get a chance to see one in person, grab it.

61 thoughts on “My Muse Considers How to Poem Monet

    1. Thanks Sarah, and thanks for the prompt. MOMA used to have a room with water lilies surrounding on all sides, but when they renovated they got rid of it. It’s a wonderful feeling to be immersed in the paintings–a circular gallery would be perfect. I hope you get there.


  1. Colors are impossible to imitate in language. But some words are like colors in terms of carrying their own forms of ineffability. Some words are packed with reference and will send your mind off on a quick journey of feeling with the speed of a rocket. Each medium has its own indefinable something. Monet is a great prompt, and you do wonderful things with the inspiration, Kerfe.

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  2. I’ve just posted the poem I (finally) wrote to the NaPo prompt. I hadn’t been going to do it at all, but the poem I wrote is really very like yours, but not from a painterly angle. This is so full of colour you almost give the lie to the sense of the poem.

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  3. Your right. To approach a real Monet, all we can do is bow in respect. Saw a traveling exhibit from the NY Whitney once, paintings I’d studied for years. The in person difference was beyond believable. I wonder precisely why that’s so. But/And good wisdom to lean against someone of that ability. I do believe in things rubbing off.

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    1. Thanks Neil. Nina and I went to an exhibit years ago of the waterlily paintings at a gallery in Chelsea. Yes,the difference between a reproduction and the actual piece of art is often quite startling. Not just color and texture but scale.
      And always good to be influenced by the masters.

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