April 30, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 30: "Figures on the Sand, Annisquam, 1915"

We're ending Ekphrastic April at the beach. I hope to see you next year for another month of ekphrastic cherita. Stay home and stay safe.


"Figures on the Sand, Annisquam, 1915" (1915) by Elizabeth Wentworth Roberts [1871-1927].

April afternoon

promises of summer
...but only promises

we still need to walk
through the shadows
before we reach full sun


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 29, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 29: "Young Girl in Front of a Window"


"Young Girl in Front of a Window" (1930) by Suzanne Valadon [1865-1938].

window opens wide

life on hold for too long
she will get out
of her rumpled pajamas

toss the paper flowers
and walk among the living


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 28, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 28: "Ruth St. Denis"


"Ruth St. Denis" (1910) by Alice Pike Barney [1857-1931].

not trusting in
the brilliance of talent

the dancer fails to
let herself shine
preferring tricks of light

with rhinestones


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Artist, Alice Pike Barney, captured the spirit of modern dancer Ruth St. Denis. If you think the costume she was painted in is overly bejeweled, look below to see some contemporary photographs of St. Denis.


Ruth St. Denis in Radha (1906), NYPL Digital Collections, Denishawn Collection.


Ruth St. Denis in first costume for Radha. Bust portrait. (1904), NYPL Digital Collections, Denishawn Collection.



April 27, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 27: " Young Woman with a Pipe"


"Young Woman with a Pipe (Portrait of Andrée Vaurabourg)" (1920) by Alice Bailly [1872-1938].

after a lesson

a piano teacher
can't be faulted
for picking up a pipe

it may be the only thing
between her and murder


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 26, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 26: "Coffee Time"


"Coffee Time" (1916) by Elsa Backlund-Celsing [1880-1974].

fresh brewed and cooled
with twice as much milk,
sugared with a heavy hand

then served with cakes
cookies and laughter

coffee time


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 25, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 25: "Assisi"


"Assisi" (circa 1883-1910) by Annie Louisa Swynnerton [1844-1933].

the fact that birds
can fly even higher
than the fortifications

of Assisi

must have given Francis
hope for man's soul


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 24, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 24: "Pansies"


"Pansies" (1919) by Jacqueline Marval [1866-1932].

perennial

pansies are guaranteed
to arrive each spring

if nothing else is
available to make you smile
head to the garden


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 23, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 23: "A Cup of Tea in Holland"


"A Cup of Tea in Holland" (1902) by Anna Richards Brewster [1870-1952].

please sit down

just for a moment
while I drink my tea

let me remember
when I was young like you
and still had a friend


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 22, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 22: "The Lonely Refugee"


"The Lonely Refugee" (1921) by Susan Ricker Knox [1874-1959].

"wear a red babushka

otherwise how will
he know you?"

did she even ask
if I wanted to be known
by a stranger?


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 21, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 21: "Woman in Black Dress"


"Woman in Black Dress" (1923) by Tamara de Lempicka [1898-1980].

I can't help myself

I want to run to the woman
in the black dress

I want to tell her, "Stand
up straight and tall--show
the world you're worth it!"


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 20, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 20: "Farmhouse and Car"


"Farmhouse and Car" (1933) by Prudence Heward [1896-1947].

nothing was ever
quite level or square

but curtains crisp
and freshly washed gave
the house a warmth

recognizable as home


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 19, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 19: "Flock of Geese"


"Flock of Geese" (circa 1883) by Elizabeth Nourse [1859-1938].

April dusk

a twisting skein
of latecomers to this
novel spring

their back and forth:
safe--not safe


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 18, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 18: "Woman with an Umbrella"


"Woman with an Umbrella" (1880) by Marie_Bracquemond [1840-1916].

rain showers

nearly every day
--April is like that

find a pink umbrella
and the rain will seem
a little less daunting


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

"Woman with an Umbrella" appears to be a study for Braquemond's "Three Ladies with Parasols" (a.k.a. "The Three Graces"), also 1880. I prefer the study as it has an appealing lightness that I don't find in the painting.

April 17, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 17: "Prattling Primrose"


"Prattling Primrose" (1873) by Sophie Gengembre Anderson [1823-1903].

my little prattler
from morning til evening

she comments and questions

with the sun setting later
my evening glass of wine
grows fuller each day


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 16, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 16: "Secretly"


"Secretly" (circa 1877-78) by Eva Gonzalès [1849-1883].

they think I'm practicing
and leave me alone

for a few moments
I delve into words
that have aroused much ire

among the less passionate


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 15, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 15: "Lilacs in a Window"


"Lilacs in a Window" (1880) by Mary Cassatt [1899-1947].

in her pictures of mothers
and their children

a tenderness

in her "Lilacs in a Window"
the addition of the fragrance
of May gardens


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 14, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 14: "Man with Flock of Sheep"


"Man with Flock of Sheep" (1910) by Marianne von Werfkin [1860-1938].

the warm days
too quickly gone

time to head home
where who knows what
is in store

perhaps a pot of stew


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 13, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 13: "The Threshold"


"The Threshold" (1913) by Florence Carlyle [1864-1923].

they call me Bird

the name is fitting
on today of all days

freedom or security--
in front of a bay window
the decision is easy


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 12, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 12: "Easter Brings the Budding Spring"


"Easter Brings the Budding Spring" (date unknown) by Fidelia Bridges [1834-1923].

no Easter Bunny
deliveries this year

chocolate will not
be missed as long as
the sun shines

spring 2020


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 11, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 11: "Still Life with Bowl of Citrons"

The cherita is based upon the life of the artist who was proud of her decision to remain single.


"Still Life with Bowl of Citrons" (circa late 1640s) by Giovanna Garzoni [1600-1670].

"Chaste Giovanna"

my choice to remain a virgin
affords me many advantages

the name bothers me not--
besides, what man wants a woman
who is perfumed with paint?


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 10, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 10: "Cat"


"Cat" (circa 1904-8) by Gwen Johns [1876-1939].

Edgar Quinet

yes, my cat has
a formal name

it doesn't quite fit,
though certainly stuffed,
he is no stuffed shirt


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 9, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 9: "First Official Airmail Flight"

During the Great Depression, the US government created the Works Progress Administration, which put unemployed citizens back to work. The work consisted of a variety of public works projects such as building buildings, roads, and bridges. Creative workers, artists, writers musicians, directors, were hired to create murals and take oral histories, among other things. The study below, by Dorothea Mierisch, resulted in a mural that decorated a post office in Illinois.


"First Official Airmail Flight," McLeansboro, Illinois, September 26, 1912 (mural study, McLeansboro, Illinois Post Office)" (1940) by Dorothea Mierisch [1885-1977].

$40 million was invested
in putting creatives to work

in 1933

now, artists are worthless
unless their work can be added
to an investment portfolio


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Yesterday, Atlas Obscura ran a piece on post office murals, click here.

April 8, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 8: "The Potato Harvest"


"The Potato Harvest" (1918) by Winifred Knights [1899-1947].

a touch

only a brief second
but an acknowledgment

--a task completed
does not mean it has been
satisfactory


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 7, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 7: "Ivory Soap Ad"


"Ivory Soap ad, American Cookery Magazine" (1919) by Elizabeth Shippen Green [1871-1954].

soapy soap

plain, used forever
for baby or old folks' skin

with luck, our soapy
soaped hands will be
what saves us


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 6, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 6: "A Bed of Poppies"


"A Bed of Poppies" (1909) by Maria Oakey Dewing [1845-1927].

home school

in the yard we examine
one square foot

a dozen poppies
too many ants to count
one rusty matchbox car


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 5, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 5: "Swans"


"Swans" (dste unknown) by Susan Isabel Dacre [1844-1933].

a small bevy of swans

in a vast expanse
of water paddling
dabbling and honking

one watchful one
always at the ready


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 4, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 4: "Oh, Don't Hurt Me! Cried Tom..."


"Oh, Don't Hurt Me! Cried Tom..." illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith [1863-1935] from The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley (1916).

under the sea

the rule is simple--
eat or be eaten

no wondering if
someone has decided
you don't need to eat


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 3, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 3: "Woman Sewing"


"Woman Sewing" (1890) by Harriet Backer [1845-1932].

all week the rain

then today the sun
arrived bright and warm

the task I had put off
for much too long
becomes a respite


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 2, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 2: "Elegant Woman on a Winter's Walk"


"Elegant Woman on a Winter's Walk" (date unknown) by Louise Abbéma [1853-1927].

if not for the ice

the gulls would
be well-fed

and there would
be no excuse not to end
the uncertainty


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

April 1, 2020

Ephrastic April, Day 1: "Young Fisherman Looking at Sea"

Welcome to Day 1 of the 2020 edition of Ekphrastic April in celebration of National Poetry Month. Come back each day during April for works of art created by women, each one is accompanied by an original cherita inspired by the work. Haiku Sticky and Happy Haiga Day! posts will resume in May.


"Young Fisherman Looking at Sea" (date unknown) by Virginie Demont-Breton [1859-1935].

storm rages

a young fisherman watches
what is out of his control

all he can do is dress
for the weather and trust
his mates are heedful


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.