A Secret Guest

Hidden in plain sight,
trapped in the linseed scent,
the musk of old art and paint,
behind the green and ochre
of the Olive Trees
for over a century,
it forfeited the freedom
of life en plein air.
Vincent didn’t notice
his secret guest,
having picked off
“a good hundred flies and more”.
The grasshopper in the landscape
whispered of his painting outdoors
during a self-admitted stay
at the Saint-Paul asylum in May.
Without head and thorax,
it was dead before it hit the canvas.

Kim M. Russell, 27th September 2018

Image result for The Olives Trees by van gogh

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: Narrative Poetry

Björn, our host for this week’s Meeting the Bar, reminds us that the world is filled with stories that might or might not be fiction. He says that he finds it interesting that the oldest saved poems are actually stories, the poetry, with its rhythm and rhymes making it easier to be recalled. He tells us that the oldest saved piece of poetry is the epic of Gilgamesh, which is also the oldest literature that still exists, dating back to 2200 BC.

Today Björn would like us to tell him stories, fiction or nonfiction, new or ancient, using the following literary devices:

  • Decide whether the author will be a participator (first person), or an observer (third person).
  • Have a clear beginning, putting us in a specific place and time, and introducing the place using the senses.
  • Introduce the main character(s) and help the reader to see and understand them, describing them by showing their actions rather than just describing them.
  • Include some dialogue to make the story more real.
  • Give it a clear ending with or without a twist.
  • We can use any form we want, and use all poetic devices, meter, rhymes and assonance.
  • There is no limitation on length, but Björn suggests keeping it to the bare minimum the story requires; if our stories extend over several hundred words, we should consider ways to cut them down.

My narrative was inspired by an article I read about a grasshopper that was found in a van Gogh masterpiece 128 years after he painted it.

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39 thoughts on “A Secret Guest

  1. I sense Van Gogh smiling as he read this over my shoulder. You seem comfortable with a narrative. I guess I’m a bit of a storyteller, for narrative is always a component of my stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful work here, woven so well. You demonstrate how narrative can become wider and wilder inside the proper compression. I left wondering if we aren’t all accidental loci of the Master’s painting. Unintended dollops in the general wonder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved the shared story of the grasshopper! For some reason it made me think of an old TV show “Kung Fu, in which the male lead (Keith Carradine) called the boy “grasshopper”.

    Liked by 1 person

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