Ekphrastic Contrapuntal Tanka String with Haiku: #TankaTuesday

Colleen at Wordcraft poetry suggested this prompt today: to write a syllabic poem using this 19th century painting as inspiration. She mentioned how it looked like the girl is on her cell phone. For a time it was hard to unsee that cell. But then, after I saw something hanging down from the “cell phone,” I realized how important our own world views are to how we see something. As I researched, I read that Hitler loved the paintings of this artist, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, and made his work Nazi favorites. But the artist (blessedly) never lived long enough to see the Nazis come to power or to know the name Adolf Hitler. All these different perspectives are where my poem today comes from and it is what complicates the form, creating an ekphrastic contrapuntal tanka string with haiku.

I’m sorry that the poem had to be a screenshot as I couldn’t make it stay on the screen otherwise. If you click on the poem image a couple of times you might be able to make it larger. Please let me know if you can read it or if I need to figure out something else. Any ideas would be appreciated.


Filed under #amwriting, #TankaTuesday, Art and Music, History, Poetry, Writing, Writing prompt

48 responses to “Ekphrastic Contrapuntal Tanka String with Haiku: #TankaTuesday

  1. So true of poetry in general too; it comes to each person to be viewed from their own perspective.

  2. I didn’t have any trouble reading it.

  3. I could read it perfectly, and clicking on it does make it bigger, so no worries. I love the different perspectives you included in your poem, Luanne!

    Yvette M Calleiro 🙂

    • Thank you, Yvette! It was so frustrating trying to figure out a way to make it seen since it’s kind of broad and has the empty spaces in the middle.

  4. I love what you did here – different perspectives indeed 💕

  5. A profound way to close the poem – it really does look like someone checking their phone and I’m sure there’ll be people who see it in future without realising there were no phones then!

    • That is probably true, and it makes me feel squeamish especially with my worries about AI and our future.

      • Oh yes, I’ve been talking about that a lot this week – I completely believe we’ll end up in an ‘I Robot’ world.

        • I do too. I am terrified. You probably are not on Facebook but in case you are I joined a group Writers Against AI Writing or somesuch that was started by Meg Pokrass.

          • I think those of us who aspire to create lasting art with our writing will be a rare breed, hopefully one that is highly valued. At this point in my life, I will continue to write what I want to write according to what’s in my own brain, and the Devil take the hindmost.

            • The Devil take the hindmost. I haven’t heard that expression in how long. How would AI ever know how to use it with just the right mix of sincerity, sarcasm, and irony? Years ago when the gardener and I had a little store, he dismantled the part of the cash register that “makes change” for the clerk, thus forcing us all to count change back to customers. Everyone who worked there left knowing how to add and subtract. Not so today!!! That is the first vivid example I can remember of the beginning of the end.

          • I’ve got a profile but don’t use it. I saw the writers’ strikes happening over there that include demands for not using AI for screenwriting in future.

            • That’s right, the screenwriters are worried, as are most writers. I think the tech and basic copywriting writers will be the first to go . . . .

  6. You do amazing work, Luanne.

  7. I love the layers of your poem, and I appreciate your providing some contextual information.

  8. Are you sure she isn’t carrying a latte? Being sure not to spill it by tripping on those rocks!

    You have delved deep into the history of this portrait, rather than just taking it at face value. That’s what I love so much about your poetry.

  9. The truth will set us free, and you will be on the ultimate truth tellers list. My highest compliment.

  10. I believe that no one sees an image the same way, have the same feeling for it. The poem is beautiful!

  11. Great idea viewing the painting from different perspectives, via poetic verse. Really liked what you did.

    • Thank you, Pam! It all came together when first I saw how “contemporary” Colleen and I were viewing the painting and then to read about Hitler!

  12. Luanne, there is a lot to take in with the poem, just as there is a lot to take in with the image. To add to the complexity is the historical context it finds itself in. Nicely done.

  13. I like different interpretations and the way you have carried it away from the scene is quite creative Luanne. Well-done!

  14. An interesting way to portray the different perspectives. So true!
    We all see things in our way.

    I think what Hitler liked is what I don’t like about the painting. 😉

  15. I agree with Liz’s comment above about the layers in your poem. It is not an easy thing to do, and you did a great job. You are so right…our perspective of the world changes the way we see things. Some people are drawn to a painting because it stirs something deep inside them…a memory, a remembrance of a place, something special to them. To another person, it might have very little impact at all. It is the same with poetry…a poem speaks to different people in a myriad of ways.

    • You are so right. And you know what? when I used to teach children’s literature to future teachers when it came to the poetry unit I always stressed to let the children choose what poems they responded to and let them have their own special particular response (emotional connections or what the poem reminded them of in their own lives, etc.). I have always felt that even a great poem could leave someone cold because it isn’t the right poem for them! So thank you for speaking to this!!!

  16. Oof, I didn’t know about the Hitler connection (I did a tanka, and wanted to convey my immediate response)… you capture the multiple meanings of art well 🙂

    Also, where are the rabbits? I missed the rabbits!

    • LOL! I have been waiting for somebody to ask about the rabbits! I made them up! I got carried away ;). Yeah, when I read about the Hitler connection, I thought it was another example of our different perceptions. He saw what he wanted to see in the art, just like some of us saw a cell phone in her hand because that is what we are used to seeing. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. WOW, Luanna!
    Your series of stanzas is amazing.

    And I’m so impressed by and appreciative of your research…

    Much love,

  18. This was a favorite.

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