I haven’t been feeling all that well this week. A bit washed out – probably a virus - and today, just when I thought I had recovered, my stomach has started to make strange noises.
This should, perhaps, get the blame for the fact that I’ve been trying to write a poem for the Scottish National Galleries Creative Writing Competition, but haven’t yet come up with anything remotely worth sending. The idea is to choose a work of art from any of Scotland’s galleries and write a poem or short prose piece as a response to it.
My failure so far may be more to do with a sense that nothing is going to be good enough. I’ve chosen a painting, and I keep starting to write, but the furthest I have got is four lines, all of which I deleted the following morning. I bet once the competition deadline is past (19 January), the poem will virtually write itself.
An excerpt from last year’s top-class winner, A Loaf of Bread, by Anna Crowe, based on Claude Monet’s Haystacks: Snow Effect:
Winter is when you need to see this Monet.
To come in out of the city’s dirty streets
and cross this field of snow – crisp as a sheet
or table-cloth – and toast yourself: mown hay
like those proverbial loaves, to feed the many;
haystacks, round as pains de campagne, whose heat
is palpable, might melt the snow; replete
with wordless promises of milk and honey.