Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Few Short Ekphrastic Poems on the Paintings of Judith Clay


A Fishy Story -  © Judith Clay

Did you ever wonder
why your fish are somber?
Or what the small fry wish
in their schools of fish?
Would it astonish you to know
they project in scintillating rows
their 3 R's on the scaly side
of  flounders floating in the tide?
They learn to count the bottom pebbles
and form words inside of  bubbles!
Yes they learn in liquid schools
where the wise will brook no fools.

A Children's Poem for Judith Clay's painting of the same name.
© Gay Reiser Cannon * 8.31.13
All Rights Reserved


Magic Hour (c) Judith Clay
Magical Jeff,
the musical Giraffe
plays the circus
on a high treble clef,
where silver flutes
and golden stars
brass french horns
wail songs bizarre.
The ringmaster's hat
yields a magic wand
while a diva dove
sings opera songs.
Crowds attend
the strange event
and watch in awe
as a coo-coo bird
begins to caw.
The girl on the swing
does a somersault
while an elephant
dances without a fault.
And when the acts
take their final bow
They skate away
to another show.

Another Children's Poem
© Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved * 8.31.13


Henry and Adele (c) Judith Clay

Adele sings the blues to the moon all night,
as she winks at the man-in-the-moon's pale light
and watches Henry play his flute.

Adele fills her basket with her song of night
And whispers the lying ways of a hot day's light
she wraps Henry in the tunes of fruit.

Adele sings the lonely in an autumn night
how the river wronged her when she was right
she teaches Henry the shades of truth.

So Henry shines in the lunar light;     and
Adele soars as her blues take flight.

A Blues

(c) Gay Reiser Cannon * All Rights Reserved * 8.31.13


  1. Love the anthropomorphic qualities of those fish.

  2. nice flow of the tides in this write :)

  3. Three very different but wonderful poems. The first really made me smile.. The second tickled my imagination. And the third was sweet and very touching.

  4. Wow, what a blaze of creativity, Gay. Each poem so different, both in classic forms, and tone; yet each one perfectly matched to Judith Clay's magical paintings. It is as if you wrote the poetry first, and Judith painted her response to your poetics. I liked the second one best; just a sucker for a good carnival/circus setting.

  5. very cool that you wrote to three of them.... love that you added the fish pic to your trilogy....They learn to count the bottom pebbles
    and form words inside of bubbles... so charming gay - made me really smiles...

    and new blog look

  6. ha. you went all out on these pictures gay...i like the play in the first one on them being in schools....ha i like the show in that second one as well....would def be entertaining...smiles....

  7. delightful, all of them - love the rhythm & rhyme of the first and the absolute magic of the second, makes me wish I had young ones here to read your poems to :)

  8. Love what you did here.. a little children's book already done and made... and the fish school is so much fun.

  9. Wonderful poems, Gay! The first one about the fish was my favourite :)

  10. Clever and delightful. Wonderful poems.

  11. You have a gift for seeing all in the frame and going beyond it to extend the story. A fish story is most fun and mysterious to me! I think a series of these stories and illustrations would make a great book.

  12. The uni-versel lives in songamostperfectfluteofharmonyasone...

  13. A fun romp through the magic of a child's-eye-view. Loved the giraffe best.

  14. I like the fish counting the pebbles and putting the words in bubbles...ha quirky and creative!

  15. first one is my fave- beautiful, fun.

  16. These are all wonderful. The fishy tale makes me think of Ella - over at Ella's Edge - who tapes up different pictures for her goldfish to look at so they dont get bored with the scenery. She swears they notice the change, come up to the glass and are all interested:)

  17. Great writes all round.

  18. Your literary reflections are,mirrors to the lovely images. I particularly admire the last. Good for Adele!

  19. Incredibly whimsical and cute to hear you read these delightful poems! Thank you for this wonderful little journey...

  20. ...beautiful & can make one feel young... children's poem always stuns... loved these! smiles...

  21. How delightful! You've spoiled us with three gems strung together and a reading! It's the poetry lottery, I feel I should leave flowers :).

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  23. sweet and inventive :) ~ M

  24. What a delight in these three poems which recaptured my childhood and not sure I can or even want to come back to being an adult...Love the Clay art...all of which remind me of a combo of Klee and Chagall...Your poetry fits so well...I'm enchanted w. all 3 poems, your reading, and wish now to be be tucked in and dream...of fish, circuses..and all the rest. Thank you for sharing such charm. :))~jackie~

  25. Each a unique, creative interpretation of the charming paintings. They're sure to delight youthful readers of all ages.

  26. I'm slow this week. Learning to cook again too (for more than two). So slower than I had hoped but I will get there. Thank all of you for your wonderful comments about these little poems. They were too irresistible not to write something for them and I think I might have at least two more I want to talk about - whew!

  27. Lovely poetic gems Gay, specially the last one ~ A treat to read tonight, smiles ~

  28. i really enjoyed this. i read it a few times. fantastic.

  29. Gay, these poems are wonderful! I wrote a couple of poems to Judith Clay's paintings as well...her pictures are practically begging to have poems written to them. Love yours!!

  30. I found these when searching for ekphrastic poems to use with children. These are great! I'll read them Henry and Adele, beautifully made poem! Thank you!