Tag Archives: ekphrastic poetry

Occhiolism, a professional observer’s opinion

Ahumans are  impractical  unethical  cost-prohibitive  inefficient
to fit  to completely control  to randomly assign
Several  Ahumans  consistently  give  wrong  results

For  Ahumans  to  be  valid  the  experimenter  must  account confounding  factors
Ahumans  are  limited  because  they  lack  statistical  properties
Ahumans  suffer from the possibility of contamination
Ahumans  may  produce  illusory  correlations 
Ahumans  consistently  give  wrong  results
Ahumans  are  prone  to  selection  bias
Ahumans  lack  external  validity

conduct  medical  trials 
provide  a  substandard  treatment
inferences  from  subjective  models  are  unreliable
outcomes  are  observed 
results  are  not  meaningful

conduct  randomized  experiments
produce  ethical  concerns
analyze  the  data  in  light  of  them
present  a positive  result 

By  definition  non-Ahumans  are  quantified,  more  objective  and  therefore,  more  convincing
Title: Eye idol, Period: Middle Uruk
Date: ca. 3700–3500 B.C., Geography: Syria, Tell Brak
Medium: Gypsum alabaster, Dimensions: 2 1/2 x 1 5/8 x 1/4 in. (6.5 x 4.2 x 0.6 cm)
Classification: Stone-Sculpture
Credit Line: Gift of The Institute of Archaeology, The University of London, 1951
Accession Number: 51.59.11
Title: Proto-Cuneiform tablet with seal impressions: administrative account of barley distribution with cylinder seal impression of a male figure, hunting dogs, and boars
Period: Jemdet Nasr, Date: ca. 3100–2900 B.C.
Geography: Mesopotamia, probably from Uruk (modern Warka)
Culture: Sumerian, Medium: Clay
Dimensions: 2 1/8 × 2 3/8 × 1 5/8 in. (5.4 × 6 × 4.1 cm)
Classification: Clay-Tablets-Inscribed-Seal Impressions
Credit Line: Purchase, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gift, 1988
Accession Number: 1988.433.1

The prompt today at napowrimo.net was to “write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.” I was fascinated by this entry:


n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, because although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control for a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.

I didn’t have the time to write a poem though, I was too busy translating this tablet sent to me by a secret messenger carrying the eye idol. #NaPoWriMo day 27 gets my translation of what seems to be a scientific report as my entry today.

Laughing like Messerschmidt / The artist as he imagines himself apologising

Who cares if I put a gun to your face?
It was for art’s sake and – just so you know
– it could have been a cannon
I’ve decorated enough of those
to know how they work

It was for art’s sake only, I promise
I didn’t enjoy the look of terror on your face
I just wanted to study it

I’m sorry I scared you, but 
it wouldn’t have been the same if I’d asked
I needed your raw emotion
to express the Gestalt of fear

It could’ve been worse you know
I could’ve sent a hornet from the future
a Schnellbomber carrying my name
would you have liked that any better?

I assure you I tried to use my own face
but I find it hard to scare myself
more than the evil spirits inside me
already do

I’ve laughed, I cried,
pinched myself in front of mirrors
documenting the deformations
disarming the dangers
of being peculiar

For art’s sake, remember?
my intentions were good
sixty-nine Kopfstücke 
the face an index of the mind

unnamed - words blind us to the truth
what is it that we have in common?

tin for tat
hard features, soft stone
chips not chisels

uncontemporary art
unshouldered the burden to please

I imagine myself apologising
Laughing like a Messerschmidt they say
That would be funny
Title: A Hypocrite and a Slanderer, Maker: Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (German, Weisensteig 1736–1783 Pressburg) Date: ca. 1770–83, Culture: Austrian, probably Pressburg (Bratislava), Medium: Tin alloy
Dimensions: Overall (wt. confirmed): 14 9/16 x 9 5/8 x 11 5/8 in., 25lb. (37 x 24.4 x 29.5 cm, 11.3399kg)
Classification: Sculpture, Credit Line: Purchase, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund, and Lila Acheson Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fisch, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Richardson Gifts, 2010
Accession Number: 2010.24

The Met brought me another case of love at first sight today. Check out this 30-minute documentary if you want to fall in love too:

The prompt at napowrimo.net today was to “write a poem that delves into the meaning of your first or last name.” I started to look for names to write bout on the website of The Met, because I want to feature one of their art works every day this #NaPoWriMo. I’m so glad I did.

Humanity’s got talent

Universal elections will be held in 2222

All inhabitants of the world who identify as human will be sent a ballot (shape and material will be announced later). 

They will have the right to outvote one of the following issues
(the exact list is under discussion and will be kept secret until definite):




human rights

When critical journalists inquired if racism, sexism, ageism and totalitarionism will be on the list, they were informed that those will be abolished before then. 

Government officials’s reponses have been universally positive. Our translators reported:
bee’s knees
cat’s pajamas
jewel in the crown
best thing since sliced bread

No campaigning or political parties will be allowed for these elections. A spokesman for the organisation said education should suffice.

As soon as I found this work on the website of The Met, I wanted to use it this month. It’s so beautiful!

I was surprised when I read the description of the function of a mirror bearer: “The mirror-bearer to the ruler was an important role, sometimes filled by a woman, but more often by courtly dwarves. Their primary function was to reflect the image of Maya lords and ladies as those dignitaries preened in self-regard.”

Today’s prompt at napowrimo.net was to “write a poem in the form of a news article you wish would come out tomorrow.”. When I was a child I would have instantly chosen world peace. As I got older, things got more complicated. To have this planet live happily ever after (after what?) seems a greater challenge then ever.
Title: Mirror-Bearer
Date: 6th century
Geography: Guatemala or Mexico
Culture: Maya
Medium: Wood, red hematite
Dimensions: H. 14 1/8 x W. 9 x D. 9 in. (35.9 x 22.9 x 22.9 cm)
Classification: Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number: 1979.206.1063


The seer warned us
we would be declared unpersons 
unless a libation of griffin tears
was offered in time

We started to hurt griffins 
maim them
kill them
they never cried

We abducted their young,
hunted their old
we just couldn’t 
make them cry

At the panhellenic sanctuary
we spilled griffins’ blood
poored it fast, poored it slow
from a gold phiale, to no avail

We fought, we lost,
we were declared 
humans banned us
from this worldlet 

Only three of our kind
reached the escape ship
survived gravity withdrawal
remained in cryosleep

As light-centuries passed
we hacked the future
found a probability world
reinstalled our overmind 

Recently a chronoscopy has shown
griffin tears are no unobtainium -
you just need to make ‘em laugh

We won’t let it happen again
There’s a disintegrator
aimed at their class M planet now

No dystopic earthman shall contaminate 
multiverse with meatspace again

The prompt at napowrimo.net today was “to write a poem using at least one word/concept/idea from each of two specialty dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction.” Which made searching for art at The Met easier today. I simply searched their Greek and Roman Art department until I found a piece of art that invited a poem…

Title: Bronze man and centaur
Period: Geometric
Date: mid-8th century B.C.
Culture: Greek
Medium: Bronze
Dimensions: H. 4 3/8 in. (11.10 cm)
Classification: Bronzes
Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number: 17.190.2072


For all my life
I’ve obeyed the rules
– their rules

Never following my heart
nor my abdomen
neither believing what my gut told me
nor my own thoughts

I obeyed every commandment
each edict
the letters and spirits of law
and any code of conduct

Yet here I am

The devil’s instruments
leading me on
to bare my soul
unveil my deepest desires
and tremble
with delight


If, like me, you didn’t know what hecatocheires were, you can look it up here.

Napowrimo.net provided us with a lovely challenge for day 6 of #NaPoWriMo: “Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem from the point of view of one person/animal/thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous (and famously bizarre) triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights.”

According to a book in my house, the father of Hieronymous Bosch was a painter. He didn’t want to take on his son as an apprentice. Alledgedly he thought this son had too much fantasy to become a painter….

Wounded angel

The angel was blindfolded, but she knew her fate

“Why do we bury her alive?”
the boy asked
“What did she do?”

The angel was grateful to be carried

“Why us?”
the boy moped
“I wanted Beelzebub,
not a stupid girl.”

“She wounded him pretty badly”
his companion said
“I lost money on that bet!”

I know I wanted to write a poem when I saw this painting. What I don’t know is how I came across the painting. Was it a prompt somewhere? Was it on the app on my phone called Daily art (highly recommend if you’re into art, they come up with both well knows and unknown masterpieces)?

There’s more I don’t know. Did I read A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven (called A Time for Everything in the US) by the Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård before I wrote this? That book is so strange that you can’t look at an angel the same way after reading it.

The painting holds a sense of mystery, so I guess it fits that my memory is blurred. I’m posting this poem for #NaPoWriMo say 28 in the hope that as many people as possible get to see the beautiful painting by Hugo Simberg: The wounded angel (1903)

There’s no art in that

napowrimo1I guess it’s too late to be a farmer
now that my hands are tied
to the hind legs
of a raging bull

He’s constrained now
but he won’t be
in a minute
when the gates open
after they’ve prodded his balls
with a pitchfork

Well, do I need to explain that?

The peasants did not take my art too well
They mind pictures of naked women raping bulls
in their butt hole
more than they mind real life violence

There’s no art in that

I guess it’s too late to be a farmer


On day 12 I wrote a palinode for this poem:  a poem in which the poet retracts a statement made in an earlier poem. It’s called There’s art in that.

More images on this subject can be found on http://www.fscclub.com/muse/sculpture-rape-europa-e.shtml