Friday, February 22, 2008

Romance for Totally Optional Prompts

I've been thinking about romance all week but I guess I'm just not in a romantic frame of mind to write something new.

Last year I had my poetry-writing students find a piece of artwork and write a poem inspired by it. I did it with them and told them I'd open an art book and point to a picture and go with it. This is it. It's called "Nude in the Sunlight" by Renoir. Needless to say, they were thrilled with my random pick!

Nude in the Sunlight

We escaped
from our work
and slipped away
to these woods
to make love
in the sunshine.

Then he asked
if he could paint
me sitting
in the glow,
as natural
as the air
swirling around
the leaves
and my breasts.

I pulled my shirt
up to cover
part of me
because no man
should ever know
all of a woman,
but let him
love me again
with his paintbrush.

What does he see
as he sketches?
Does he notice my arms
thick from doing
my mistress’s laundry?

Does he see my hair
loosened like the grasses
fluttering freely
but still anchored?

He captures the coins
of light on my skin
but he can’t draw
my soul
hidden in my sturdy

He thinks he’s painting
me but each stroke
lights the fire
of naked
that I’m smiling about.

Soon I’ll head back
to the steamy washtub
taking the freedom
of the afternoon
with me.


paisley said...

this was really wonderful.. you got right inside of her..

i wonder what the students wrote... are you familiar with WITS blog? robin i believe her name is and she usually posts on TOP???

i am forever amazed at the poetry that the kids come up with.....

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Hi Linda,
You think
she thinks
who knows?
I love the idea of giving Renoir's voluptuous nude a voice though!

Crafty Green Poet said...

excellent, I always like poetry that gets inside characters in paintings, you do it well here

Pam said...

I really like this viewpoint poem. I enjoyed that you were able to keep her anchored through various images like, "Does he see my hair loosened like the grasses fluttering freely
but still anchored?" It is obvious that she is in charge of herself.

my backyard said...

This is a very rich poem!I enjoyed it.

Deborah Vatcher said...

I enjoyed this poem very much. Renoir is my favorite painter, and his son, one of my favorite film directors. Lovely.

Christine said...

This is lovely! You did an amazing job creating your own character out of this painting.

When I go to museums, one of my favorite activities is to muse over what the people in the portraits must have been like. I really like this!

And I bet the kids did love this painting!!

tumblewords said...

Amazing! To get inside a character's mind with such realism is incredible!

anthonynorth said...

You take the reader there - to the scene and into the mind.

UL said...

yes, I am also curious how the students did it so well..

Linda's Poems