Using Poems and Photos to Inspire Writing – Part 4By Hank Kellner
A teacher of English at Lake Forest High School, Lake Forest, Illinois, Mara Dukats writes of “shells of empty eggs” when she discusses a broken love affair. Using imagery of objects to express her emotions, the poet expresses her feelings in such words as embers, ashes, gritty gravel, and eggshells. This poem, its accompanying image, and the keywords “fragile,” “broken,” “fallen,” and “eggs” provide unlimited opportunities for writers of all ages to relate everyday objects to different feelings or emotions.
white on white
these are words I’ve been avoiding for
some time now
their embers still burn in the ashes of
where I’ve tried so many times
to bury them
you see, I’ve fallen and
not even the shimmer of your cocoa eyes
can catch me, for
i’ve landed and it’s really not
not as gritty as the gravel playground
on a moonless night
i’m shattered on the inside, fragile on
the outside, but strangely whole, you see
i’ve fallen and I’ve scraped my knees and
i’ve an ebbing pain like
shells of empty eggs that spill
no trace of yolks
for yellow is too soft a color
white on white
i’ve fallen and this time I’ve got the words
just right I’ve fallen out of love.
The Color of Sadness
Cynthia Staples is a writer-photographer-painter based in Somerville, Massachusetts. For more of Staple’s writing, visit her blog at wordsandimagesbycynthia.com. Her poem, “The Absence of Color,” describes emotional states in terms of color (or the absence of color) while at the same time reversing the traditional impression of black and white. This poem-photo combination can initiate discussions about how certain colors affect emotions. Accompanied by the following quotation from Shakespeare’s Richard III: “Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours, /Makes the night morning, and the noontide night,” the poem can also lead to a discussion of contrast as a rhetorical device.
The Absence of Color
Does sadness have a color?
Muted blue perhaps tinged with gray.
White with ash layered throughout like Morbier cheese?
Not black. Black is beautiful
As are gold, brown, and green.
They indicate life.
Sadness equals absence
Of light and color and warmth.
Artic white, then, yes,
That’s the color of sadness.
“White on White” and “The Absence of Color” originally appeared in Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner and Elizabeth Guy (Prufrock Press, 2013). See sample pages, reviews, and buy now at http://www.prufrock.com/Reflect-and-Write-P1752.aspx.
About the author
A veteran of the Korean War, Hank Kellner is a retired educator who has served as an English Department chairperson at the high school level and an adjunct Associate Professor of English at the community college level. Born in New York City, Kellner now lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Visit his blog at hank-englisheducation.blogspot.com.
Kellner is the creator of many photographs and articles that appeared in publications nationwide; the author of extensive reading comprehension materials for a publisher of educational materials, and a former contributing editor to Darkroom Photography magazine. He is the author of Write What You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing (Prufrock Press, 2009) and, with Elizabeth Guy, the co-author of Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing (Prufrock Press, 2013).