“Sister Moon” by Jane Williams

Ekphrastic Challenge, September 2015: Artist’s Choice


Painting by Sarah Oyetunde
Painting by Sarah Oyetunde. “Sister Moon” was written by Jane Williams for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, September 2015, and selected by Oyetunde as the Artist’s Choice winner.

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Jane Williams


for Sarah

Hemispheres apart—
we have been this way for years.
As I rise with the rising moon,
you sleep on
through oceans of dreaming,
losing and finding yourself
in the tidal push-pull
of your divided heart
at each equatorial point of yearning—
such a long way away …
But listen!
Today I saw this painting
and you were in it.
In the returning curl
of each wave, each cloud,
in the seaweed flowering purple,
your favorite color,
in the tiny white birds hovering over
the crown of the sun going down,
let’s say doves, for old times’ sake,
on the rippling path of water
that lead nowhere
but moved when you moved,
rested when you rested
and yes in the rising of the moon—
the same moon.

Ekphrastic Challenge, September 2015
Artist’s Choice Winner

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Comment from the artist, Sarah Oyetunde: “I chose this poem mainly because on a gut level it resonated the most for me. I really like the sense of story combined with the narrator appearing to have a sense of their loved one’s presence within the painting, describing the loved one as if they were the painting or that the loved one would recognize or somehow know the painting. It feels like the person who wrote this poem was both writing their story and the painting’s story … perhaps they were both narrator and viewer.” (website)

For more information on Jane Williams, visit her website.

Note: This poem has been published exclusively online as part of our monthly Ekphrastic Challenge, in which we ask poets to respond to an image provided by a selected artist. This September, the image was a painting by Sarah Oyetunde. We received 242 entries, and the artist and Rattle’s editor each chose their favorite. Timothy Green’s choice was posted the following Friday. For more information on the Ekphrastic Challenge visit its page. See other poets’ responses or post your own by joining our Facebook group.

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