a note from Joan Leotta, guest editor for the Ginny Caraco ekphrastic challenge:
Selecting work for the Ginny Caraco Challenge was one of the most difficult things I have been asked to do! When I signed up to work with Lorette on this, when I asked Ginny to allow us to use her painting, I never anticipated the range and high quality of responses. Several of the poems touched only lightly on the art, using it as a springboard to other emotional realms. While I was touched by those as poems, the ones I selected for inclusion were more closely tied to the artwork itself—and that still gave me a wide range. Thank you, Lorette, for giving me this opportunity and for reminding me how difficult it is to be on the other side of the pen—editing!
sashay-dance toward post time--
jockeys splashed in colour
check reins taut, keep constrained
horses dappled with blue
shadows. Wait, prancing hooves,
edgy for victory!
only after laps through time!
Aligned at start gate, hooves
spark and shy with colour.
When gun cracks, green, red, blue
silks float forward as trained.
Angled legs, riders strain
in stirrups, victory-
lean, ignore blur of blue
spectators, tick of time.
Muscles sprinting, colour
above mud-flinging hooves.
Horse numbers flash by, hooves
land sure and square—constrained
by bright leg-wrap colour--
a slip, no victory.
Each stopwatch second—time--
counts toward coveted blue.
awning over race, hooves
bolt-running. Precious time
on track, oval laps constrained.
First place nose! Victory
pounds from cloud of colour.
Heaving sides, blood colour
of flared nostrils, win-blue
trophy. Walk, splendid hooves!
Smiles loosed, grins uncontained--
celebration hay time.
Unbridled rest, victory in colour,
ribbon of race time. Remember how blue
shadows stretched from hooves—running unconstrained.
Lucy Tyrrell lives near Bayfield, Wisconsin. Her favourite verbs to live by are experience and create.
Painted in loose, quick strokes
the bright animal joy
of the horses
the jockeys like angels
ready for flight
like champagne bubbles
as each contender
moves into place
at the gate-
that artificial start
our own invention
the even playing field
that exists nowhere
but where we draw it-
lines in the sand
ordered and shaped-
all positions equal
as we can make them-
and we gamble
knowing there is no sure thing
no matter how
we calculate the odds
knowing there’s always the chance
of a wild card, dark horse,
reversal of fortune,
inside the house of rules
that allows us to exchange stampede
for the ordered fury of the race,
and all our lawless terrors
Mary McCarthy is a writer, artist and former Registered Nurse. Her work has appeared in many print and online journals, including Third Wednesday, Earth’s Daughters, Verse-Virtual, and 3 Elements. She has been a Pushcart nominee, and has an electronic chapbook available as a free download from Praxis magazine.
Treasured Joy or Trying Source...
So rightly vague is distant crowd
bedimmed by prance of those so proud
enroute to moment marking fate
of wagered purse that they create
as beasts of burden bred to run
an oval from their gate undone
to plane they break of measured course
as treasured joy...or trying source
of hauntingly embittered doubt
that they had gamely gone the route
or had indeed been wisely steered
amid the traffic never cleared
begetting distant, muffled scorn
and rustled twist of tickets torn.
Prefers to craft with sole intent
of verse becoming complement...
...and by such homage being lent...
ideally also compliment.
Under Starters Orders
Photo start paused mid-motion
colours drain in counter print
bleached as watercolour silks
cling close to sweaty flank
jockeys jostle for position
nostrils flare with speculation
tape gasps, throws itself
into the Carolina breeze
odds swept up with excitement
feel the rhythm catch the pulse
hooves thrumming, agitation
drumming to the beat of turf
finish line paused mid-motion
colours seep back into silk
pulse settles, veins contract
odds recover, safe return.
Kate Young lives in Kent with her husband and has been passionate about poetry and literature since childhood. After retiring, she has returned to writing and has had success with poems published in Great Britain and internationally. She is presently editing her work for an anthology and enjoying responding to ekphrastic challenges. Alongside poetry, Kate enjoys art, dance and playing her growing collection of guitars and ukuleles!
A Tip from Number 11
At two I ran my premier race.
I zigged and zagged all over the place!
My owner laughed, That’s NOT the way it’s done!
But both of us were really glad I won!
I’ve trained some more and now I’m three –
Be sure to place a bet on me!
I’ll show you just how much I love to run!
Alarie Tennille graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She’s now lived more than half her life in Kansas City, where she serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place. Her latest poetry book, Waking on the Moon, contains many poems first published by The Ekphrastic Review. Please visit her at alariepoet.com.
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