Night Hawks


Tall buildings shadow pavements,
squinting their windows against light
that spills from an insomniac Manhattan diner.
Anonymous at a timeless hour,
customers sit at the cherry wood counter
with dirty coffee cups and a hankering
for cherry pie, sugar to take the sour
edge off a night of cigarettes
and alcohol. Smoky thoughts curl
and mingle with the smell
of sandwiches and coffee;
fluorescent reflections glitter in urns and taps.
Water gushes and there’s a clink of cups
as the waiter does the washing up.

Kim M. Russell, 13th April 2017


Image found on Wikipedia

On Day 13 of The Poetry School’s NaPoWriMo prompts, we’re writing ekphrastic poems, which take another work of art as their ignition point. They have given as examples John Keats’ ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn’, which sets the bar high, and ‘Empty Chairs’ by Liu Xia. It helps if the poem can stand up on its own without the reader knowing the art-work!

17 thoughts on “Night Hawks

  1. Hi Kim ,
    I am reblogging this as I am a great fan of one of the greatest realists of the 20th Century Edward Hopper. If you look on My Art History Blog you will see I have written extensively on Hopper and Burchfield who was another great Realist. Clement Greenberg the Critic insisted that Hopper couldn’t paint What Nonsense thanks for re posting this the sign of a great Master.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the reblog, Laurence, and I’m delighted that my poem caught your eye! I uses Nighthawks and several other Hopper pictures as creative writing prompts when I was still teaching. The kids loved them and we got some fantastic work out of them. I love Hopper, he’s my favourite American artist.I’ll pop over to your blog and bookmark it for future reference!.


  2. Pingback: Art History blog

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