Poem Tryouts: Paintings as Prompts

26 Nov

7:41 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to If You Ever Change Your Mind sung by Crystal Gayle

Hello, everyone. Brrr, and we’re mild compared to those north of us. Still, brrr. Tomorrow we head south to my brother who warns us to bring ‘ski parkas and electric socks’. Florida will be down to 65 degrees. He doesn’t like cold. Considering we are looking at a low of 23 tonight and snow flurries tomorrow, I scoffed. To all who do, and don’t, celebrate an official Thanksgiving, have a warm and wonderful day.

Okay, image. My west coast brother sent me the newly published official photograph from the Danish royal family. It’s interesting and the portraiture is stunning. I want you to completely ignore what it is and use an aspect of the painting to spark a poem. When you click on the photo link, to enlarge it, click again — top half, or bottom half — to enlarge the image further.


danish royal family

As you peruse the painting, keep your mind open to things you are reminded of. Look at faces, actions, objects, background. You might come up with a list like this:

background — reminds me of a visit to the Uffizi Palace in Florence — that was the year they landed on the moon
background — all the jigsaw puzzles and the afternoons I spent with my mother and the upstairs neighbour, putting them together
two boys playing with Lego — my brother and I used to play with Tinker Toys and Lincoln logs
knight on a horse — King Arthur — so many memories I can work from with Arthur as the spark
the silver eagle-headed cane — my husband’s collection of canes and the stories that go with acquiring them
the pair of socks the toddler upper left is wearing
every year my parents took a family photo for the Christmas card — I remember the year they decided to include the pugs…

You see the kind of thing? Find your aspect. Write a poem. As always, consider form, so that how you write complements what you write. Leave the painting behind [unless you have had a burning need to write about the Danish royal family].

I shall see you next Tuesday for a regular poetry prompt.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 26/11/2013 in exercises, poems, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , ,

8 responses to “Poem Tryouts: Paintings as Prompts

  1. barbara_y

    26/11/2013 at 8:47 am

    Interesting. Weird. Denmark is in ruins?

    • margo roby

      26/11/2013 at 12:27 pm

      Who knows? Perhaps that’s a corner of their theme park, Tivoli!

  2. Hannah Gosselin

    26/11/2013 at 7:14 pm

    The woman in the far-mid-background in the pea-green dress is the muse for this one.

    Thank you, Margo!

  3. markwindham

    29/11/2013 at 11:49 am

    😉 That is all I shall say.


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