The term, ekphrasis, is a Greek word that means 'description', and refers to describing an object in vivid detail. Today it has come to be defined as poems that are inspired by works of art or vice-versa. Imagery is very important in my writing and I am often drawn to the story behind a piece of art or sculpture. I was delighted that artist and potter, Ness Porter Kelly, decided for a recent exhibition to work on one of my poems for her inspiration. She chose my poem 'Songline' which is from my first poetry collection, Unearthing your Own, published by Bradshaw Books in 2001. What I really like about the painting is the way she incorporated the indigenous iconography into the Irish landscape.
Is what the aborigines called it
singing up rocks, trees
their very selves into creation.
Following leylines from yesterday to now
till they came to their end, dreaming.
Song-women had their own lines
separate from men,
singing from yesterday to now;
from mother to daughter
So if I show you like this:
pinnate shape of leaf,
veins that parallel the length of blade,
life-spring in the plant
when it is chewed to poultice,
it is the way it was shown to me
as to my mother and to her mother before that.