Responding to images – poems by Karen Dennison and me

My good friend Karen Dennison is both a poet & an artist. And a publisher. Be sure to have a look at her web page and check out the Book of Sand – an ekphrastic collaboration of poets & artists (and I was fortunate enough to have one of my own poems included).  She’s also collaborated recently with Abegail Morley on the beautiful poetry pamphlet The Memory of Water.

I do not consider myself an artist, but one day I started playing around with Sketch-Up a free online drawing/painting program and created my own version of a photograph which I discovered in a nature calendar (sometime way back in the 1980s !!) and which I framed and have kept (ever since) on some wall where I can see it often .  I found out recently that it’s still available.

I asked Karen if she’d like write a poem in response to my rather abstract bird, err outsider art (?). She said yes, and she invited me to do the same. So below you will find my digital drawing “Betwixt” & Karen’s uplifting & lovely poem-response “Crow” — followed by Karen’s artwork “Sunprints” (layered photographs) & my poem-response of “For the child”. Note: click on the images to enlarge them. To add to the fun, Karen & I plan to both “go live”at the same time with both our blogs – with our art & poem collaborations at both locations!!

Image by Elly Nobbs
“Betwixt”, digital drawing by E.E. Nobbs, using Sketchpad (inspired by “Blackbird”, photograph by Tom Myers)


I pull on the shape of the crow’s
silhouette, wear it like a hooded coat,
push my arms into its feathers.

I plant my feet in the branches of a tree,
autumn leaves jigsaw beneath me.
My field of sight moves, widens.

Sky is my country now. I’ve sacrificed
words for wings, speech for song.
I hover above our house, squall farewell.

— poem by Karen Dennison

Image by Karen Dennison
“Sunprints”, layered photographs by Karen Dennison

For the child

life’s like a hole
where once there was a stove pipe
in the kitchen ceiling
of an old house

with a bedroom
above: she’s on the floor
not sleeping
— one ear over this chance
to learn secrets

and no, the sounds
weren’t  like seas  inside a conch
shell  or  comets

poem by E.E. Nobbs

Learn more about exphrasis here at ARAS (The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism)



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