Several years ago, I visited the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. with a friend. At the time, a room was devoted to the work of the American Impressionist Thomas Wilmer Dewing. I was captivated by the ethereal quality and soft colors of Dewing’s canvases. I bought a calendar that included several of his paintings, thinking I might frame them. Not long after this, my artist son asked if there was anything in particular I wanted for Christmas. I asked him to paint me a version of this painting:
Michael’s version has hung over my bed ever since. I’ve often thought these women, my own graces, deserved a poem, but I never got around to writing one for them.
I was inspired to finally pick up my pen last month when Laura Shovan announced her Pantone® Poetry Project. Laura shared two or three colors each day, and challenged poets to write poems inspired by the colors. Day 10 featured Amberglow and Golden Glow, and although these aren’t the colors in Dewing’s painting, they are similar to Michael’s colors.
“In the Garden”
Music tumbles onto the terrace,
Out of doors thrown open wide.
Leaves tremble in the evening breeze,
An echo of trilling piano keys.
the bustle of the day recedes.
Three women, swathed in silk,
like graceful moths, emerge
into the golden glow of twilight.
The air shimmers
as fireflies flit and dance.
reflected in the amber glow
of their gowns,
as the last light of day fades.
The music ends,
and the final notes
melt into the evening air.
© Catherine Flynn, 2014
Be sure to visit Julie Larios at The Drift Record for the Poetry Friday Round Up.
Thank you, as always, to Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna, and Beth for hosting the Slice of Life Challenge. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.
19 thoughts on “SOLC 2014: Poetry Friday”
It’s so fun to write poems from photos. Love words like shimmer and swathed
You amaze me. The whole poem feels light floating though warm light even as the light fades. Beautiful picture. Would love to see MIchael’s version.
I remember this painting … maybe I also saw it at the Smithsonian? Your poem captures the ethereal qualities of the art. I especially like “Leaves tremble in the evening breeze/ An echo of trilling piano keys.”
What a beautiful piece. I love the slip of the sounds . The shimmer and silken amber glow brought to mind the gloaming time. Gorgeous painting, I don’t know Dewing’s work so I’ll have to go on an explore today! I want to see Michael’s version too.
What a beautiful poem with the history attached. I love when a poem or piece of writing lives within us for a long time and then is birthed. Beautiful.
Your “draft” is amazing! I love the “swathed in silk” and “amber glow” and also the picture and the context of your poem! What a great story and poem!
I wish you had joined us, Catherine. Beautiful painting, beautiful words too: “like graceful moths, emerge/into the golden glow of twilight”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to step back in time, to see those women as they strolled… Perhaps that’s why people like Downton Abbey so much! Thanks!
Great poem. Your words are as ethereal as the painting that inspired it.
You did a marvelous job capturing the visual colors and tones with words, Catherine.
PS will you be at TC tomorrow?
I think your poem captures the calm feel of the painting. How nice to have a son who can paint for you! 🙂
Beautiful and ethereal, Catherine. You’ve painted some very vivid images. I like the trilling piano keys especially :).
The last three lines caught my eye:
“The music ends,
and the final notes
melt into the evening air.”
I do believe you’ve captured the spirit of this beautiful painting, dear Catherine.
Your words and the painting that inspired them will always be intertwined in my mind. This post inspired me on many different levels. I have been working on a post and had left it to jell. After reading your post I added a couple of lines. Thank you.
Love the language and images in your poem, Catherine. I also love that you commissioned Michael to paint for you! What a great gift to receive from a child. Have a great time tomorrow!
I love “knowing” what happened right before they walked out into the garden! The music added a whole new sensory level to the poem!
Really lovely. I, too, love those last three lines.
How great to write from a picture you’ve lived with. I love all the sounds you included, as well as the color and shimmer.
Wow. Just wow. This is amazing. I hope you have had it printed and framed to hang beside the picture. I feel like I am part of their evening. Your words, your beautiful words, took me right there.
Gorgeous, Catherine! Your poem is such a perfect match for the painting– elegant, yet transcending earthly delights. The comparison of the women to silken clad moths, the stars reflected in their gowns… wow. it’s all just so luscious and lovely.