“Today’s (optional) prompt is ekphrastic in nature – but rather particular! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem from the point of view of one person/animal/thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous (and famously bizarre) triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. Whether you take the position of a twelve-legged clam, a narwhal with a cocktail olive speared on its horn, a man using an owl as a pool toy, or a backgammon board being carried through a crowd by a fish wearing a tambourine on its head, I hope that you find the experience deliriously amusing. And if the thought of speaking in the voice of a porcupine-as-painted-by-a-man-who-never-saw-one leaves you cold, perhaps you might write from the viewpoint of Bosch himself? Very little is known about him, so there’s plenty of room for invention, embroidery, and imagination.”
Today’s resource was a huge learning for me. I actually looked at the painting, read notes on it and ended up being in complete awe of the creator. I’ve written the poem Bosch’s e point of view. I hope you enjoy it. It’s shocking how he predicted the future so realistically though at first the painting appears bizarre and outrageous.
The ‘Garden of Earthly Delights,’
What a pretty name
For the profanity and bizarre sights
How truly optimistic
and how sadly lame
to label my triptych-
T’was an admonition
Did you not see-
Of the perils of temptation
Oh! The irony
Of a name so sweet- that it fails to tell
Of what is to come
‘A pathway to hell’
May have been more befitting
a name; it would rightly sum
the dark secret, the black future, the warning
Do you not see
how its turning true
What you wrote of as an infernal parody?
The bird bug IS the flu
the ears and knife – a sign
For not paying heed
the diabolical bird on the potty chair – all the food and wine
you gorged; the lust, the fleshy indulgence – you made it a need
Don’t blame me or Him – For you sowed the seed
But fear not – there’s hope still
Read the notes- not the one on the buttocks
Change your course – before it doth kill
Save your flocks
Do you see the lute
And the book below?
Read the notes- that’s the route
Follow it – Go!
Or Paradise may forever be lost
Heed my words
Know what your indulgence cost
Ye’ sons of Adam and Eve
Steer your herds
Do not grieve
Noah’s Ark awaits you
The ‘Garden of Earthly Delights,’ was your cue
The Rot – to sieve
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Our poetry resource today is an online poetry journal, The Ekphrastic Review. As its name suggests, this magazine publishes only work inspired by works of visual art, and often provides images of the specific paintings alongside each poem.