“Wildflowers” by Paul T. Corrigan

Ekphrastic Challenge, March 2018: Artist’s Choice


Chickens! by Marion Clarke

Image: “Chickens!” by Marion Clarke. “Wildflowers” was written by Paul T. Corrigan for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, March 2018, and selected as the Artist’s Choice. (PDF / JPG)


Paul T. Corrigan


The farmyard is not a schoolyard.
The hens are not teachers.

The cottages are not classrooms.
Their doors, although as red as alarms, are not emergency exits.

Although hard from being walked on, the path is not anger.
Although taloned and full of testosterone, the rooster is not a shooter.

The boulders are not bullets.
The wildflowers are not students, splashes of clover, dollops of poppy, ribbons of milkweed, blooming, bursting from swaths of rye, alive.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
March 2018, Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, Marion Clarke: “From the innocuous title, ‘Wildflowers,’ to the final word, ‘alive,’ via a series of negative statements, this poem really struck me. The pastoral scene depicted in the painting is effectively juxtaposed with terms that might be used to describe a school shooting. Vocabulary such as ‘alarm,’ ’emergency exits,’ ‘shooter’ and ‘bullets’ are all the more arresting in such a bucolic scene. Terms employed in painting such as ‘splashes’ and ‘dollops’ made me think of spilled blood, particularly since poppies feature in both the painting and poem. I found it clever how the poet lulled us into a false sense of security through the image and the title and then in a quiet, assertive voice (much like that of a teacher) the reader is presented with a totally unexpected scenario. And of course that word ‘alive’ resonates long after reading.”

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