Poetry Friday: “Through an Open Window”


Today I’m sharing the latest draft of the persona poem I’ve been working on for Laura’s Ditty Challenge over at Michelle’s blog, Today’s Little Ditty. I’ve loved this painting for years, so it wasn’t hard to decided to write a persona poem for this young woman.  The more I studied the painting though, the more contradictions I saw and the more questions I had. This draft answers some of them, but not all.

"Morning Glories" Winslow Homer 1873
“Morning Glories” Winslow Homer 1873

Through an open window,
the wide world beckons

I toss my crewel work aside,
its neat silk stitches
no match for the ropes of green
twining up outside the sill,
toward the sky,
where a menagerie of clouds
is parading by.

I watch them skitter and shift,
morphing into fantastic creatures.

I wish I could transform
into a hummingbird.
I’d dart and hover
among the morning glories
and geraniums,
sipping their summer sweetness.

But like this philodendron, I’m
trapped inside, bound to this place,
never allowed to roam free,
never allowed to touch the sky.

© Catherine Flynn, 2016

Please be sure to visit Julie Larios at The Drift Record for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

7 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Through an Open Window”

  1. Wonderful interpretation and poem, Catherine! I especially love how you contrast the flowers– her, like the philodendron, bound and trapped. Interesting that this challenge generated three poems inspired by paintings of roughly the same time period–1983, 1882 and 1902–all of them in a girl’s voice, expressing deep yearning. Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly a large sample, but what does that tell you about that time period? Seriously.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love that you used flowers for her persona, Catherine, and believe that we are on a similar wavelength today, imagining the feelings of young women of long ago, a Jane Austen moment? Love “I’d dart and hover/among the morning glories. . .”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s interesting how we tend to romanticize the Victorian Era and yet, in reflection, realize it was a time of great restraints on the freedoms of women. Love how you wove in nature with wistfulness.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I do think Michelle is right, Catherine, and that you and I were on the same wavelength. I don’t think it was an accident that we have that sense from these paintings. I know that look my Essie had. I’ve felt like a caged bird, too. Perhaps there were women who escaped their cages, but I think they were rare indeed. Your poem is a thing of beauty, and I found myself nodding and admiring all the way through.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Catherine, as I mentioned on Facebook, I love your persona poem. The feeling of being trapped but yearning to fly a little hummingbird is so apropos for the time period from everything I have read of Victorian times. I do think Winslow Homer was a magnificent artist so you chose a great image for your persona poem.


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