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“Morning News (1915)”

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.……………………..MORNING NEWS (1915)
………………………………….~ after the painting by Helen Turner
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…………………………Over her bare shoulder, no headlines
…………………………can be seen, bad news printed as finely
…………………………as good news, center pages no wider
…………………………than her linen tablecloth, than the side
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…………………………of their square table left vacant after he
…………………………stood up, took one last sip of coffee,
…………………………blew back a farewell kiss, reached
…………………………with his free hand for a brief case.
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…………………………But now that he’s gone for the day,
…………………………which kind of story does she favor?
…………………………She’s still in white, her red robe draped
…………………………over a chair, one slipper off, a nearby vase
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…………………………revealing a few fresh scarlet roses.
…………………………Is it war or love, that color, her posing?
…………………………Whatever the drama, she already knows
…………………………its ending:  the wedding of close neighbors —
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…………………………new love not yet tested — or old betrayals
…………………………at the bank, or a faraway war, evil and
…………………………heroes in black & white photos, and on all
…………………………home fronts, one loyalty without equal.
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…………………………by Therese L. Broderick
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..……………………….(A writer’s statement appears as the first comment.)
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About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

20 responses »

  1. ARTIST’S STATEMENT
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    Fact & Fiction ~
    .
    This poem was inspired by a painting reproduced in a book which I own: Women Artists: An Illustrated History (Cross River Press, 1987) by Nancy G. Heller. The 1915 oil painting is Morning News by Helen Turner. My poem describes a few figures and objects in the painting, but not the entire scene. Months ago, I also wrote a different poem about this same painting, a poem entitled “Touches of Red.”
    .
    Sound & Sense ~
    .
    In this poem I aim for mono-rhymed stanzas. The rhyme is not perfect, though. That is, each stanza has its own assigned assonance or consonance. Respective to each stanza, those vowels and consonants are: long I, long E, long A, long O, and the consonant L.
    .
    This version of the poem benefits from the feedback of local readers MM, JG, JH, and RL.
    .

  2. I like this very much, Therese. I like how the middle stanza is the hinge on which the poem turns, and I like the richness of the color and the images you’ve borrowed and translated from the painting. The last stanza in particular knocks me out.

  3. Hi Therese,

    Having read your poem I had to see if I could find an image of the painting. And now I see what you have woven into this piece and into the woman’s mind. It is peaceful, ordered, like the painting.

  4. I thought it was beautifully done, the history of the time frame placed within, (the woman staying home while her husband goes off to work, the war, the coming depression)was done ingeniously, but was sad that I could not find an online image of the painting!

  5. Even not knowing the picture you bring so much to life in your words.

  6. Actually the imperfection of rhyming enhances it. I like how it goes.

    scrawled sheet of paper

  7. I like the poem and it makes me want to see the painting.

    After all a poem should act as a partner to the painting, and your’s does.

    all my best,

    Alan

  8. I love the painting you’ve chosen to “ekphrasize.” :) You have captured it beautifully, Therese.

    She’s still in white, her red robe draped
    over a chair, one slipper off, a nearby vase

    revealing a few fresh scarlet roses.

    The robe is such a strong detail of the painting. Glad you captured it, but I had missed the roses, my attention goes to the robe, the paper, and the angle of the neck. My attention fades outward from there.

    Thanks, Therese!

  9. Pingback: Via Negativa

  10. You’ve drawn a very visual poem, and I have this gleeful need to check and see how well I’ve done imagining it.
    That aside, it’s a lovely moment, ambiguous as the time it speaks of.

  11. Therese,

    I think you’ve done a great job evoking the mood and tempered innocence of the painting. Even though it’s 1915, there’s a strong Victorian quality to the painting, but with hints of unease, of a sense of the terrible and novel places the world was headed. You manage to parallel both the innocence (the woman’s unlimited loyalty and patience, her belief that what is right will ultimately prevail) and the reality (she’s alone, really alone, in spite of her easy body language; she has no idea of the magnitude of the calamity). Ultimately, your handling of the details and introduction of a few of your own (e.g. the man’s sip of coffee) create a skillful, poignant and intimate narrative from the art.

  12. It’s a faithful rendition of the painting and your interpretation rocks.

    on all
    home fronts, one loyalty without equal.

    …speaks to me of the clarify of her loyalty to her one and only, amidst the chaos brought by the daily news.

  13. The last two stanzas are a really lovely turn to the universal elements of a very private scene – it is the story of the woman in a painting, but it is also a testament to the uneasiness that dwells behind each day’s unknown good/bad news.

  14. The painting is beautiful filled with sunshine and roses. Your poem speaks to the possible news the woman is about to read. The setting is inviting, even the news is usually a good read. I love the details you have focused on. Thank you for posting this art poem,
    Therese. =D

  15. I’ve chosen to stick with your fine poetic image and not look at the painting…the poem feels utterly contemporary.

  16. You, too, are an artist! Your words fly off your paint brush and create a masterpiece of their own! Who needs the painting when we have your vivid descriptions?

  17. Reading the poem makes me want to see the painting. If it is on the internet somewhere, maybe someone could give us the site?
    However, we do know history & that WW1 was going on at that time, so we already know the news wasn’t good.

  18. i could hear a soft sigh released from her lips “…one loyalty without equal…” is a beauty!

  19. Therese, this is really lovely. I love the question, What kind of story does she favor? And then the choices that follow.

  20. nicely woven Therese…thanks

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