Daydream – Poetry Challenge 15

I wrote this ekphrastic poem about an oil painting I bought 30 years ago at an art exhibit in a shopping mall. I only recently took the time to investigate the artist’s signature. I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was painted by Caroline C. Burnett (1877-1950), an American-born artist known for her Impressionist street scenes of Paris. She was a member of the Societe de Beaux-Arts in Paris, where she exhibited her works in 1898. When I first saw it, it made me dream of sipping a mocha at an outdoor café in Italy. Turns out, it was actually painted in Paris, France. The closest I’ve gotten to visiting either of these places so far is a hotel and airport in Frankfurt, Germany, and a hotel in Algiers. But I still hold out hope.

Ekphrastic poetry vividly describes a painting, sculpture, drawing, or other form of visual art. It doesn’t have any other rules.


When I first discovered
the moment captured on canvas,
I was instantly whisked away
to stand outside the café bistro
admiring its bright olive exterior
and the flower baskets and boxes
in windows and all along la rue.
The archway leading to Hotel de Liones
Warm rose and brown hues
contrast with the lone blue vase
on the small white table.
An everyday scene for Parisians
painted with unrefined brushstrokes.
I imagine a light breeze 
in that quiet moment on this early morn,
and the couple that might turn the corner
and stroll past the restaurant.
The desire for travel and adventure
on distant shores
is rekindled.  

Text and images Copyright © 2023 Karolyn Herrera

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