April sunshine has given me the courage to take on the challenge of writing Ekphrastic poems. I have never attempted to translate the emotion from paintings, drawings, sculptures, or other visual works of art into words. The challenge will require me to dig deep to tap into the passions such works of art create inside a person. Most of what I write will be speculative. There will be times when I will place myself into the mind of the artist. Still other times, I will express the emotions I experience gazing at the work of art. If I get creative, I might even tell the story from an element within the artwork. This Ekphrastic poem is based on a painting by Vincent Van Gogh entitled The Potato Eaters.
The Potato Eaters
We are not pretty people.
Sitting at fancy parlor tables sipping tea
And eating sweet treats from a silver tray.
We are the laborers from your field
The laundress who washes your clothes
And the cook at the local café.
We don’t have much in the way of property.
A meager meal sits on our nightly table
And our clothes are riddled with fray.
We make our beds among the humble,
And our dreams are haunted by need,
But we hold out hope for a better day.
We work for a brighter future,
Underneath a relentless sun
The weight makes our backs buckle and sway.
We sometimes feel your harsh judgements,
When we have time to think about you at all.
While you dine at your plentiful buffet.
We may be poor who live under this roof,
But we fear God and give grace to each other.
As long as there is potatoes and coffee we will live another day.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures, click here.
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