inspired by art
Home sweet home Latest site info Poetic stuff Serious stuff Funny stuff Topical stuff Alternative stuff Shakespearian stuff Musical stuff

Ekphrastic poems by Neil Ellman.


blow up 180 – subatomic decay patterns

(after the blackboard painting by Kysa Johnson)

blowup 180

© Kysa Johnson


On the surface of things, on the skin
of the real or the real that we see
everything is exactly as it seems
youth, age, this moment on
this wrap of mass and energy
in this definite uncertain time
while nothing of the universe within
the cell, the molecule and soul reveal
the paths of subatomic particles
decay of light and life
as if our lives were nothing more
than momentary traces on a screen.



a line, (a blue one)


Wooden Virgin

(after the painting by Joseph Beuys)

Wooden Virgin by Beuys

© DACS 2013. Image from


Of virgin wood untouched
the virgin woman
wooden to the touch,
she reaches out
recoils from being touched
eyes fixed, heart on fire
at arm’s length
like a block of wood
waiting to be burned alive
still impenetrable to words,
urges, other eyes
she is ruthless
in her wooden guise.



a line, (a blue one)


Maquette for Flamingo

(after the sculpture by Alexander Calder)

Maquette for Flamingo

© Alexander Calder. Image from


On the truest scale of birds
sparrows so small
as a the palm of a hand
a flamingo
tall, hardened, immobile,
pink and resolute
wades neck-bent to strike
it feeds on the smallest
of the small
maquettes of fish
they wait
steeled for their end
in gullets of steel.



a line, (a blue one)


The First Prophecy

(after the painting by Kaoru Usukubo)

The First Prophecy

© Kaoru Usukubo


The first was the last
and the last was the first.

The oracle prophesied
Its own demise.

No echo, no answer
but itself.

Stone walls sent no reply
for the apocalypse to come.

How stone betrayed
the augury of time.

From last to first
where words began.



a line, (a blue one)


A Hundred Years of Sleep

(after the painting by Jacob Hashimoto)

A Hundred Years of Sleep

© Jacob Hashimoto. Image


A hundred years of sleep
ten thousand dreams
behind the flickering of my eyes
an endless reel of passersby
blank faces in a crowded room
the dead who live, the living dead
with histories their own
but always me
falling, lost, alone
caught in an undertow
among the strange and unfamiliar
sights that seem to be my home—
I am aware of the wars outside
nurses watching as I sleep
whispering words I shouldn’t hear
and counting the days until I die
but I would rather sleep and dream
for another hundred years.



a line, (a blue one)


Rate this poetry.


See more by Neil Ellman

Copyright is reserved by the author. Images are copyright. Please do not reproduce any part of this article without consent.


© Winamop 2013