Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Photo, a Poem ~ and a happy chair!

If one picture is worth a thousand words,
can one picture inspire a thousand words?

Oh, easily!  In fact, I think a picture could inspire a thousand words more readily than a question would.  Pictures by their very nature stimulate the imagination.  They provoke a response in any language.  They provide an instant connection.  They pop!

When I’m searching for inspiration for a poem, I often find it in photographs.  In fact when I’m not searching for inspiration, but am trying instead to sort my boxes of family photos which stretch back for generations, so many writing ideas begin swirling into my head I could never put them all down on paper.  My own photos have volumes to tell.  It’s exhausting.

Sometimes it’s simpler to focus on someone else’s photos and pick one that “speaks” to me—like this one from Hank Kellner’s collection.  I came upon it unexpectedly there among so many other street scenes.  As if by magic then, the photo just spoke a poem right onto the page.

Imagine walking down a city street, people passing by without eye contact, everyone intent upon their own business.  One could feel almost invisible on a busy city street.  And then you come across something as whimsical and charming as this chair.  It smiles at you as if it were a friend.  How could I possibly resist it?  Why would I want to?

"A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin: what else does a man need to be happy?"            ~Albert Einstein

A Happy Chair 

Behold, a happy chair!
Were I to rest upon it
Surely warmth would fill me.

Surely all my cares
Would disappear
Dissolve into the smile
That seeped right through me.

I could be a little child
If only for little while

And then,
Restored, renewed, refreshed
I could continue on.

            ~Elizabeth Guy

When I’m feeling down, or tired, or worried – or just plain old – I think about that happy chair.  And the smile does indeed seep right through me. 

Do you have a picture that always brings a smile to your face?

Coming next week...                                   
“The Magpie” by Monet inspires a poem

Also, visit my co-author's blog at  See his ten-part series on photo prompts to inspire writing at
And Don’t Miss…

             English teacher Mara Dukats and writer-photographer Cynthia Staples’ poems “white on white” and “The Absence of Color.” They’re in Part Four of Hank Kellner’s  twelve-part series THE POWER OF PHOTOS TO INSPIRE WRITING at the Creativity Portal  website,  as well as Anna J. Small’s writing assignment in "Viewing and Writing about Photos from Around the World"
           Read more about Reflect and Write in the SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

                        A Helpful Source for Inspiration
For more photos and information not included in this blog, please visit Reflect and Write contains more than 300 poems and photos; keywords; quotations; either “Inspiration” or “Challenge” prompts; a “Themes to Explore” section; a “Twelve Ways to Inspire Your Students” section; a special “Internet Resources” section, and more. Includes CD with photos and poems from the book. Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photos to Inspire Writing by Hank Kellner and Elizabeth Guy (Prufrock Press, 2013), 153 pages, $24.95.

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