Word Portraits

This week at the dVerse Poets Pub, Anmol challenged us to write a portrait, paint a picture in words.  I’m actually cheating a bit because I am including the picture I describe (making this work double as an ekphrastic poem).  I’m not sure the poem stands alone without the picture, but I’m just to fond of it not to share.


Old Root Woman

Old root woman stops on her walk beside the sea,

poses patiently for the stranger with a camera.

She’s trying not to let her irritation show,

channeling hard-earned compassion,

the self-imposed discipline of loving kindness

one tries to offer children.

You can see why they want to take her picture.

The bizarre headdress

of leafless,  interwoven branches

stands in such contrast

to the sweetness of her features –

the apple cheeks,  the kindly eyes

set among deep laugh lines.

The importune photographer

cannot equate the power of roots

to this small body wrapped in black.

Forgets how roots can live for generations,

strangle, bind, raze and overturn.

Will the old crone let this person  live?

Or will she send a lifeless looking tendril

to snake around an ankle, pull and push

till waves begin to drown, mouth fills with sand

and eyes get eaten by the fish?

This entry was posted in Archetype, dVerse, Women, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Word Portraits

  1. Love that snapping turtle image!

  2. Love the poem and its ending!

  3. What a fascinating picture and your wonderful poem. I loved the twisted ending! 🙂👍

  4. Ooh, that ending did it for me — it is so cool the way you build on the character from the sweet physical traits to someone powerful and mysterious. I really liked this bit too: “Forgets how roots can live for generations,/strangle, bind, raze and overturn.”

  5. rothpoetry says:

    Very nicely done! Vivid images!
    the apple cheeks, the kindly eyes
    set among deep laugh lines.

    Your ending is about as twisted as here twisted headdress! LOL.

  6. Gosh, what a twist to the ending, great poem.

  7. msjadeli says:

    Oh my, wasn’t expecting that ending. Almost like a snapping turtle that wiggles their worm-like tongue to entice, only this lady has her kindly face. I love it!

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