October 23, 2015

Ekphrastic Challenge, September 2015: Editor’s Choice

 

Painting by Sarah Oyetunde
Painting by Sarah Oyetunde. “Things You Cannot Answer” was written by Margaret Donsbach Tomlinson for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, September 2015, and selected by Timothy Green as the Editor’s Choice winner.

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__________

Margaret Donsbach Tomlinson

THINGS YOU CANNOT ANSWER

why in the night when the psyche goes widening over the long
and intricate landscape where sleep knits together the real and the unreal
do we not lunge awake to find the sun sizzling at the sea bottom?

where have all the dolphins gone? where the frolicking fish?
where can a small human being lie down that is not haunted by the absence of moments
in a life so crowded with them that every moment becomes a memory of moments?

when will the air drown us as surely as the white bubbles on the wave crests
hoard their sorrows in a foam of unrelenting and susurratious lack of melody?
when can we find a home in which no one before us has died or slept or awakened?

what is the story of red? what does the red tongue taste in a feast of water?
what is the story of blue? what does the blue nerve carry in its capillaried forest?
what is the story of gulls in the color-drenched crying of the ghost-ridden night?

how can the slide of one sand grain against another and the next against the next
erode our belief in beaches? how many do we displace in a daydream? how much
does an earth composed of such fine-faceted rocks loose and fused and melted cost?

who knocked on your window in the hours before dawn when the moon hung pregnant
below the clouded stars? who did you dream of? who will protect you if by morning light
a goat-footed myth beckons from the doorway? who oils the hinge of the daybreak?

Ekphrastic Challenge, September 2015
Editor’s Choice Winner

[download audio]

__________

Comment from the editor, Timothy Green: “From the moment I read the first line of this poem, I knew it would be my choice—the sonorous, lilting rhythm already had Oyetunde’s dreamy sea captured perfectly, where ‘sleep knits together the real and unreal.’ I could read this poem again and again, just as I could stare at this painting all day.”

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. Oyetunde’s choice was posted the previous 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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October 16, 2015

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.

[download broadside]

__________

Jane Williams

SISTER MOON

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

[download audio]

__________

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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