Guest Editor's Note
This is the first time I have ever read poetry and prose inspired by my own work. I am overwhelmed by your loving and skilled responses and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for entrusting your work to me.
Every submission I read responded to Song of Love with sensitivity and care, and I am amazed to see how many different emotional and imaginative responses the work drew. I embrace you all for your time and considered responses to this painting.
Because of the high standard of works, making a selection was a very difficult task for me. Every piece had a nugget of gold in it. The difference was in the way that nugget emerged from the rock.
What I looked for in making my selections was the capacity to edit well, to paint original images that ring true, to demonstrate an awareness of rhythm and sound, and to carry the reader to a new level of understanding.
It has been a privilege to read so many very fine submissions. Thank you for putting your trust in me. And thank you Lorette for honouring my painting and inviting me to be its guest editor. It's been a wonderful experience.
Wishing you all fulfilment in continued creativity.
I look forward to reading more of your work on The Ekphrastic Review.
The Rush Comes First
Corrie Pappas is a small business owner living in New England. She is the author of the children’s book, Come Along and Dream, and has been writing poetry since childhood.
A Feminist Sijo Sequence About That Time My Mother Drove Up I-59 North and I-65 North During the Superstorm of 1993 (A.K.A. The Storm of the Century, The No Name Storm, or The Grand Daddy of ‘Em All)
One of my absolute favourite memories of my mother,
a subtly stubborn woman - unassuming, steadfast, and true -
was that year she drove us home from New Orleans in a freak blizzard.
The American South, you see, is ill-equipped for snow,
so there were no plows and no salt trucks, just panicked residents,
all of them slipping and sliding or pulling over in terror.
Even the yankee truckers couldn’t hack it and pulled to the side.
Not my mother. With my father and brother crying and cursing,
begging her to stop, she continued northbound, relentlessly.
You see my mother loved to drive - almost as much as she loved me
and definitely a great deal more than she loved my father -
and in retrospect, we both always loved a good challenge.
A mischievous first grader, I reveled in the chaos;
in the fat, white flakes twirling and swirling, dancing endlessly;
and in the distinctively blue atmosphere, heavy on the air.
Mostly, I reveled in my mother's courage; in her persistence;
in her obvious power, which seemed so very remarkable,
burning red hot in the cold against a background of blue and white.
Rose Menyon Heflin
Originally from rural, southern Kentucky, Rose Menyon Heflin is a writer and artist living in Madison, Wisconsin. Her poetry, which has appeared in numerous journals spanning four continents, won a Merit Award from Arts for All Wisconsin in both 2021 and 2022, and one of her poems was choreographed and performed by a local dance troupe. Additionally, she had an ekphrastic creative nonfiction piece featured in the Chazen Museum of Art’s Companion Species exhibit. Among other venues, her recent and forthcoming poetry publications include Deep South Magazine, Defunkt Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Fireflies’ Light, Hare’s Paw Literary Journal, Isotrope, Moss Piglet Zine, Of Rust and Glass, Pamplemousse, Poemeleon, Red Weather Literary Magazine, San Antonio Review, and Xinachtli Journal (Journal X).
Perhaps the song that serves love best
indeed is flower dried and pressed,
or image it becomes as art
abstracted by the beating heart
of journey made to sweet refrain
of moment opened blooms remain --
committed, sharing selfless soul
enabling sum of greater whole...
...the color rising up in fields
assuring more enduring yields
by seed dispersed and loss decayed
to be foundation gently laid...
...as sacrifice of season brief
that sings to life's renewed belief.
Portly Bard: Old man. Ekphrastic fan.
Prefers to craft with sole intent
of verse becoming complement...
...and by such homage being lent...
ideally also compliment.
Ekphrastic joy comes not from praise
for words but from returning gaze
far more aware of fortune art
becomes to eyes that fathom heart.
Sforzando: there’s an explosion of sound
in this painting. Fortissimo in the timpani strokes
of your angular wash brush. You don’t love quietly.
Subito, stark, bold, thick, echoes are
your chosen tonal notes, white paint,
inflected with lighter blues, flecked
with gold. Then deeper blue, limned with black,
adagio. This symphony is diminuendo
towards the edges of your image.
For all the concussive force,
here is a grave passion. Action of a lone arctic
fox diving into snow. A necessary joy.
A staccato heart, hinting at red, cadenza.
Emphatically pesante. Shadows arcing,
a maestro flicking marcato. Yet, you call
it a song, when it’s an orchestra of percussive
palette knife strikes to wintering hearts,
around an impassive face, eyeing the pianissimo hush,
banked away until the stringendo of spring’s
Rebecca Dempsey’s recent works have been featured in Eclectica Magazine, Provenance Journal, and Flash Frontier. Rebecca lives in Melbourne, and can be found at WritingBec.com. She has been known to doodle, and play with pen, water colour and pencil.
Out Of The Blue
Blue skies splashed white
to hide the horizon.
out of the blue,
I knew you from the back, you said,
the cut of your hair,
your old blue dress.
and I wanted to see your face again.
I wanted to
abate the sadness.
So no blue moods
on this bright blue day
where the future is as hidden
as the horizon.
We’ll go together now,
for now, I said.
everything ends in tears
one way or another,
so let’s take our now time
and chance the rest.
Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Consequence Magazine, Firewords, Vagabond Press, Gyroscope Review and So It Goes Journal. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com///www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/
I Will Sing to My Newborn
Cirrus clouds vortex,
red-flecked wings and water
foam like small bodies,
the current momentous. Sand
pricks my skin like needles.
I wait to see what is more
viscous. Gulf coast birds
point like poured milk.
My new soul will be a song.
A room of framed waves.
My voice bleaches in day blue.
I love a mouth in quiet white.
John Milkereit lives in Houston, Texas working as a mechanical engineer and has completed a M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the Rainier Writing Workshop. His work has appeared in various literary journals including Naugatuck River Review,Panoply, San Pedro River Review, and The Ekphrastic Review. His next full-length collection of poems, A Comfortable Place with Fire, will be published by Lamar University Literary Press in 2023.
How Fierce I Am
a song of love for my son
They never ask how fierce
I am, armored in feathers, talons
sharpened to points, my vigilance
a whirl of white ice, violent
movement as I break open
the whole sky in a flock
of fury; how I am blue bruises
on their peripheral, an afterimage
that leaves them frozen, a stone
in their hands. Angel or bird,
wrath or love? They never ask.
My son, I am your protector,
and how fierce I am.
Heather Brown Barrett
Heather Brown Barrett is a poet and member of Hampton Roads Writers. She lives in Virginia with her writer husband and their young son. Her poetry has been published by The Ekphrastic Review, AvantAppal(achia), Defenestration, Superpresent Magazine, Backwards Trajectory, and by SEZ Publishing. She has work forthcoming in OyeDrum Magazine and Yellow Arrow Journal.
Brushstrokes Writhing Over Shifting Spaces
Were you set on chasing clouds as one erases sorrows by marking white dents with feathers' ethereal whiteness against the celestial canopy? Or were you just reacting against the quiet passivity of the blue canvas the way we struggle facing the blank page, searching for words heavy with meaning? While I try, chin resting on my clenched fist like Rodin's perplexed thinker, to make sense of the accumulated shadows that await deciphering, you soar up high into a liminal space that merges ocean eddies with cumulus clouds in such a way that makes me wonder if we are watching from above or beneath that area of weightlessness you depict with featherlike brushstrokes writhing over shifting spaces, forming encrypted letters or a musical score, leading the way to align thoughts instilled in me by your palette, transmuting pigments into alphabet.
Hedy Habra is a poet, artist and essayist. She is the author of three poetry collections from Press 53, most recently, The Taste of the Earth (2019), Winner of the Silver Nautilus Book Award and Honorable Mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Award; Tea in Heliopolis Winner of the Best Book Award and Under Brushstrokes, which was a Finalist for the Best Book Award and the International Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. A seventeen-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Award, her multilingual work appears in numerous journals and anthologies. https://www.hedyhabra.com/
Bearing the Loss
shy, fair skin, reflective
I dream of her sitting on a cloud
surrounded by hues of blue
certainly one will match her eyes
Sitting on a cloud quilting
patterns of cerulean and cornflower
watching over us
as our lives roll by like clouds
changing shape to bear the loss.
Lois Perch Villemaire
Lois Perch Villemaire resides in Annapolis, MD where she is inspired by the charm of a colonial town and the glorious Chesapeake Bay. After retirement from a career in local government, she concentrated on her love of writing. Dabbling in family research led to memoir and creative nonfiction. Her prose and poetry have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies such as Ekphrastic Review, Flora Fiction, and One Art: A Journal of Poetry. Lois was a finalist in the 2021 Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry. She enjoys yoga practice, amateur photography, and raising African violets.
At the Beach Hut
As the blue sea
like Lapis Lazuli stone,
and waves clapped
and chattered like children
paddling in the foam,
as clouds soared,
gull-white and feathered
across the sky,
we sat on the steps,
eating ice-cream, your leg
resting against my thigh.
Mims Sully is from Sussex, England. Her poems have been published in numerous magazines both in print and online including Prole, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Obsessed with Pipework, Strix, Visual Verse, Trouvaille Review and Popshot. She is currently putting together a pamphlet of poems about dementia inspired by her experience of looking after her mother.
This is the summer
you spend on your back
like Michelangelo painting
a ceiling, your reaching hands
useless and divine as you take a sculptor's
thumb to the clouds, name-painting
the sky. It is endless and transient.
It is all a matter of perspective.
It is the coming and going of things
and when they come, let them come –
the organs, the angels, the searching kiss
and when they go, let them go
and try not to miss them,
and let them remind you
that no ceiling exists.
Alice Lily is a Welsh-speaking poet, artist and lawyer living in South Wales. She has a master's degree specialising in the history of literature from Edinburgh University. You can find her on instagram @alice___lily.
A Good Writing Day
They are familiar as the house you live in, or the smell
of your lover's skin. George R.R. Martin on ideas
The day begins with a day
beginning the week and his Oxford shirt. The one
she gave him for his birthday
on the beach.
The cotton's blue and white longitude
launches him into a place
of meditation. An ocean shimmer,
a linen sail,
the blank shape of himself
clinging to its pole --
long strokes of sunlight
written on the horizon. And along that horizon,
the mind drifts in warm water. He feels his shirt
billow. The inhale /exhale
of anticipation. The idea so close
he can taste its salt-sweet tang (like her lips
after stir-fry with lemon) and smell the raw
nets flung wide and wavering
beneath the glare.
A pair of gulls
skim the wave with their shadow-dark wings
the first catch of the day
promises to be good. Several drafts away
from the theme in sleek form -- beautiful
as an ink-blue marlin.
Wendy Howe is an English teacher and free lance writer who lives in Southern California. Her poetry reflects her interest in myth, diverse landscapes, and ancient cultures. Over the years, she has been published in an assortment of journals both on-line and in print. Among them: Silver Blade Magazine, Gingerbread House Lit Magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer, Corvid Queen, Liminality, The Poetry Salzburg Review and Eye To The Telescope.