One of the WFOP members in my region Christine hosts an exhibit every spring, pairing paintings with poems. Christine is also a wonderfully talented painter herself with a unique, abstract, evocative style all her own.
As she's developing her exhibit she emails her "pool" of poets -- anybody want to write a poem about eagles? clothes on the line? fishing?
It is especially fun, inspirational, creative juice-sluicing when she sends snapshots of the paintings themselves. For me, responding to a work of art through poetry has always been a resonant kind of prompt. The origin of ekphrasis means to "speak out" and (according to Wikipedia) dates back to Plato's time.
When writing ekphrasis the goal is not only letting the piece take you to a new place in your imagination but also -- somehow -- staying true to the artist's intention. A definite leap in empathy.
Here's Christine's painting she calls "End of Day":
Here's the poem I wrote in response:
End of Day
Pull the ripcord,
tamp the fuse on this period of light.
Morning’s tall column leans cumbrous
under the weight of parsing minutes, false starts.
I laugh pink occasionally.
The ceiling slants over my concentration,
budding elegance like twin spiders in cream.
I persist with my tentacles, my arms of energy.
An office chair can travel up to eight miles in a day
if it weren’t for gasbags parachuting in jellyfish.
Distraction is a dangerous beauty.
The lilt of floating color, trees secreting,
resinous with blue amber, honeyed.
The interval between sunrise and sunset
leaves a residue,
carries a charge.
I see effervescence everywhere.
* * *
I hope she picks it.
Christine's gallery website is: http://www.christinealfery.com/