My First Ekphrastic Poem

Claude Monet 1840-1926
By Laurie Epps

I confess, when I went to Paris to live there in my teen years, I didn't know a lot about art. I loved it though, and something about it resonated with me on a basic and intrinsic level. Almost instinctually, I knew what I liked, and what I didn't like. Often, this response was much different or even opposite of looking at an art book in school.

While in Paris, I fell in love with Claude Monet. I'll never forget the day I saw one of his paintings at the Jeu de Paume in Paris. I stopped in my tracks and was struck with awe. I think I sat in front of one of his famous japanese footbridge and water lily kind of paintings for three-four hours. That really short changed my time for the rest of my visit!

Later, of course, I learned that he was the cornerstone artist of the Impressionist movement. My response to it was so abrupt because the impressionists were masters at capturing light, or a response to light in a profound way. They illuminated that first impression your eye thinks it sees without altering the way that they wish it would be, or the way it is in the concrete world. 

Naturally, when my poetry teacher said to write a ekphrastic poem, I deliberately looked for a painting from my beloved Claude Monet. I hope my interpretation makes legacy more vivid.

The Magpie, Winter 1868-1869
Magpie by Claude Monet

In the cool. Crisp morning air
I saw a magpie sitting there
While drinking my morning coffee, he
Seemed to be singing just for me
Not on a ledge, nor in a tree
Across the yard, on top ladder stair
His proud song carries across the wintry air

The golden hue of morning light
A crescendo of cream, gold, and white
Creating linear shadows there
From trunks to trees, to magpie’s stare
All lines leading magpie to me
Though shadows are merely void of light
Their contrast is to our delight
So, please magpie, call with your trill
The cacophony of senses is my thrill

Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Monday Morning Book Club column dedicated to writers everywhere.

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