Rossetti’s Harp Player

The harp is made to play laments,
and her fingers pluck its strings
mournfully in mellifluous torment.
Notes spill like dawn birdsong
from the instrument she clings,
as if it were the first song
the harp had learnt to sing.
Her velvet gown is black as night,
the harp of ebony made,
but light shimmers golden bright
from the hair of the heartbroken maid.

Kim M. Russell, 20th May 2020

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - The Harp Player.jpg
The Harp Player by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

My response to Poets and Storytellers United Weekly Scribblings #20: Undoubtedly Rossetti

Sanaa is back with poems by Christina Georgina Rossetti, an old favourite of mine. I remember her poems from school, some of which I first knew as songs, hymns, and carols. What I like about her poems is that they are economical, never too long, and often focus on the natural world.

Sanaa challenges us to write while inspired by the works of Rossetti – with a twist: we have the option to choose her poems OR paintings by her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. I chose a visual prompt, ‘The Harp Player’, and tried to emulate the poet’s style.

29 thoughts on “Rossetti’s Harp Player

  1. This is incredibly gorgeous writing, Kim 😀 you have brought the painting to life with your vivid and lush use of language and imagery. Especially love; “Notes spill like dawn birdsong from the instrument she clings, as if it were the first song the harp had learnt to sing.” Thank you so much for writing to the prompt! 💝💝

    PS: Ofcourse you may link the Lizzie Siddal poem 😍 I would feel honored if you did.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your poem is portrayed to me so vivid the image of a lady in lament. Playing her harp, of course. The picture also betrays this image, you have nicely added a version your imagination of what lay behind the painter’s intent.
    p.s. I did not post my painting as I thought my juvenile readers, family and others, might not be ready for all this, it was the one of the lady holding an apple, one breast revealed.

    Liked by 1 person

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