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Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: June 18, 2003 04:30AM

references : - 14k
[] />
Anyone know if the the Edna St Vincent Millay poem Passer Mortuus Est(1921) was inspired by the Godward painting (1916) or is Lesbia traditionally associated with a sparrow, so they just have a common origin. Just wondered.

I'm collecting poems linked with paintings - this is the fourth I've discovered so far, if such it be. The others are Fanthorpe's Not my Best Side, Icarus Allsorts by Mcgough and one I've mislaid at the moment on the subject of a painting of a not very attractive nude painted by Vanessa Bell.

Can't put a foot right today
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: June 18, 2003 05:04AM

I didn't mean Icarus Allsorts by McGough, but Musee de Beaux Arts by Auden. The other one is The Sitter by Wendy Cope (on the Vanessa Bell Nude).

Re: Can't put a foot right today
Posted by: ilza (200.162.247.---)
Date: June 18, 2003 06:42AM

The man with the Hoe, by Edwin Markham
- inspired by the painting by Jean Francois Millet

Re: Can't put a foot right today
Posted by: ilza (200.162.247.---)
Date: June 18, 2003 06:55AM

I am rather slow myself ...

Peele castle in a storm by Sir George Beaumont
inspired Wordsworth to write Elegiac Stanzas


Re: Can't put a foot right today
Posted by: ilza (200.162.247.---)
Date: June 18, 2003 07:35AM

and one and two ...

Wallace Steven - The Man with the Blue Guitar,
inspired by a painting by Picasso

Carol Ann Duffy - The Virgin Punishing the Infant
by a painting by Max Ernst

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: June 18, 2003 10:34AM

William Carlos Williams wrote a poem that describes a painting by Breugel -- wait, maybe TWO!

The one I'm thinking of begins "In Breugel's great painting, the Kermis (sp?), the dancers go round, they go round and around..."

But that's all can recall, so I went looking on line and found this in a syllabus:

--William Carlos Williams and "Icarus"
--Pieter Breugel, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

(found at: [] )

. . . which suggests that Williams may have done a SERIES of poems about paintings by Breugel.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: June 18, 2003 10:36AM

I think you could find lots of poems inspired by paintings by searching for the name of the painting plus the word POEM on line.

I just tried [poem + "mona lisa"] and got several hits, including this one:

[] />
Of course you get no assurance of QUALITY ...

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: RJAllen (193.114.111.---)
Date: June 18, 2003 10:52AM

Can't remember the title, but the National Gallery commissioned a whole book of poems inspired by paintings in it. I'll check.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: RJAllen (193.114.111.---)
Date: June 18, 2003 10:57AM

Forgot to say. Yes, marian2, Catullus's Lesbia had a pet sparrow. He wrote a famous lament for it.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: June 18, 2003 01:00PM

There's this one- the last time it came up, Hugh and I went searching for the painting, but could never find one.


On A Picture Of A Black Centaur By Edmund Dulac
by William Butler Yeats

YOUR hooves have stamped at the black margin of the wood,
Even where horrible green parrots call and swing.
My works are all stamped down into the sultry mud.
I knew that horse-play, knew it for a murderous thing.
What wholesome sun has ripened is wholesome food to eat,
And that alone; yet I, being driven half insane
Because of some green wing, gathered old mummy wheat
In the mad abstract dark and ground it grain by grain
And after baked it slowly in an oven; but now
I bring full-flavoured wine out of a barrel found
Where seven Ephesian topers slept and never knew
When Alexander's empire passed, they slept so sound.
Stretch out your limbs and sleep a long Saturnian sleep;
I have loved you better than my soul for all my words,
And there is none so fit to keep a watch and keep
Unwearied eyes upon those horrible green birds.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: June 18, 2003 01:10PM

and one by Wheatly.


Niobe In Distress For Her Children Slain By Apollo, From Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book VI. And From A View Of The Painting Of Mr. Richard Wilson
by Phillis Wheatly

APOLLO's wrath to man the dreadful spring
Of ills innum'rous, tuneful goddess, sing!
Thou who did'st first th' ideal pencil give,
And taught'st the painter in his works to live,
Inspire with glowing energy of thought,
What Wilson painted, and what Ovid wrote.
Muse! lend thy aid, nor let me sue in vain,
Tho' last and meanest of the rhyming train!
O guide my pen in lofty strains to show
The Phrygian queen, all beautiful in woe.
'Twas where Maeonia spreads her wide domain
Niobe dwelt, and held her potent reign:
See in her hand the regal sceptre shine,
The wealthy heir of Tantalus divine,
He most distinguish'd by Dodonean Jove,
To approach the tables of the gods above:
Her grandsire Atlas, who with mighty pains
Th' ethereal axis on his neck sustains:
Her other grandsire on the throne on high
Rolls the loud-pealing thunder thro' the sky.
Her spouse, Amphion, who from Jove too springs,
Divinely taught to sweep the sounding strings.
Seven sprightly sons the royal bed adorn,
Seven daughters beauteous as the op'ning morn,
As when Aurora fills the ravish'd sight,
And decks the orient realms with rosy light
From their bright eyes the living splendors play,
Nor can beholders bear the flashing ray.
Wherever, Niobe, thou turn'st thine eyes,
New beauties kindle, and new joys arise!
But thou had'st far the happier mother prov'd,
If this fair offspring had been less belov'd:
What if their charms exceed Aurora's teint.
No words could tell them, and no pencil paint,
Thy love too vehement hastens to destroy
Each blooming maid, and each celestial boy.
Now Manto comes, endu'd with mighty skill,
The past to explore, the future to reveal.
Thro' Thebes' wide streets Tiresia's daughter came,
Divine Latona's mandate to proclaim:
The Theban maids to hear the orders ran,
When thus Maeonia's prophetess began:
"Go, Thebans! great Latona's will obey,
"And pious tribute at her altars pay:
"With rights divine, the goddess be implor'd,
"Nor be her sacred offspring unador'd."
Thus Manto spoke. The Theban maids obey,
And pious tribute to the goddess pay.
The rich perfumes ascend in waving spires,
And altars blaze with consecrated fires;
The fair assembly moves with graceful air,
And leaves of laurel bind the flowing hair.
Niobe comes with all her royal race,
With charms unnumber'd, and superior grace:
Her Phrygian garments of delightful hue,
Inwove with gold, refulgent to the view,
Beyond description beautiful she moves
Like heav'nly Venus, 'midst her smiles and loves:
She views around the supplicating train,
And shakes her graceful head with stern disdain,
Proudly she turns around her lofty eyes,
And thus reviles celestial deities:
"What madness drives the Theban ladies fair
"To give their incense to surrounding air?
"Say why this new sprung deity preferr'd?
"Why vainly fancy your petitions heard?
"Or say why Caeus offspring is obey'd,
"While to my goddesship no tribute's paid?
"For me no altars blaze with living fires,
"No bullock bleeds, no frankincense transpires,
"Tho' Cadmus' palace, not unknown to fame,
"And Phrygian nations all revere my name.
"Where'er I turn my eyes vast wealth I find,
"Lo! here an empress with a goddess join'd.
"What, shall a Titaness be deify'd,
"To whom the spacious earth a couch deny'd!
"Nor heav'n, nor earth, nor sea receiv'd your queen,
"Till pitying Delos took the wand'rer in.
"Round me what a large progeny is spread!
"No frowns of fortune has my soul to dread.
"What if indignant she decrease my train
"More than Latona's number will remain;
"Then hence, ye Theban dames, hence haste away,
"Nor longer off'rings to Latona pay;
"Regard the orders of Amphion's spouse,
"And take the leaves of laurel from your brows."
Niobe spoke. The Theban maids obey'd,
Their brows unbound, and left the rights unpaid.
The angry goddess heard, then silence broke
On Cynthus' summit, and indignant spoke;
"Phoebus! behold, thy mother in disgrace,
"Who to no goddess yields the prior place
"Except to Juno's self, who reigns above,
"The spouse and sister of the thund'ring Jove.
"Niobe, sprung from Tantalus, inspires
"Each Theban bosom with rebellious fires;
"No reason her imperious temper quells,
"But all her father in her tongue rebels;
"Wrap her own sons for her blaspheming breath,
"Apollo! wrap them in the shades of death."
Latona ceas'd, and ardent thus replies
The God, whose glory decks th' expanded skies.
"Cease thy complaints, mine be the task assign'd
"To punish pride, and scourge the rebel mind."
This Phoebe join'd.--They wing their instant flight;
Thebes trembled as th' immortal pow'rs alight.
With clouds incompass'd glorious Phoebus stands;
The feather'd vengeance quiv'ring in his hands.
Near Cadmus' walls a plain extended lay,
Where Thebes' young princes pass'd in sport the day:
There the bold coursers bounded o'er the plains,
While their great masters held the golden reins.
Ismenus first the racing pastime led,
And rul'd the fury of his flying steed.
"Ah me," he sudden cries, with shrieking breath,
While in his breast he feels the shaft of death;
He drops the bridle on his courser's mane,
Before his eyes in shadows swims the plain,
He, the first-born of great Amphion's bed,
Was struck the first, first mingled with the dead.
Then didst thou, Sipylus, the language hear
Of fate portentous whistling in the air:
As when th' impending storm the sailor sees
He spreads his canvas to the fav'ring breeze,
So to thine horse thou gav'st the golden reins,
Gav'st him to rush impetuous o'er the plains:
But ah! a fatal shaft from Phoebus' hand
Smites thro' thy neck, and sinks thee on the sand.
Two other brothers were at wrestling found,
And in their pastime claspt each other round:
A shaft that instant from Apollo's hand
Transfixt them both, and stretcht them on the sand:
Together they their cruel fate bemoan'd,
Together languish'd, and together groan'd:
Together too th' unbodied spirits fled,
And sought the gloomy mansions of the dead.
Alphenor saw, and trembling at the view,
Beat his torn breast, that chang'd its snowy hue.
He flies to raise them in a kind embrace;
A brother's fondness triumphs in his face:
Alphenor fails in this fraternal deed,
A dart dispatch'd him (so the fates decreedsmiling smiley
Soon as the arrow left the deadly wound,
His issuing entrails smoak'd upon the ground.
What woes on blooming Damasichon wait!
His sighs portend his near impending fate.
Just where the well-made leg begins to be,
And the soft sinews form the supple knee,
The youth sore wounded by the Delian god
Attempts t' extract the crime-avenging rod,
But, whilst he strives the will of fate t' avert,
Divine Apollo sends a second dart;
Swift thro' his throat the feather'd mischief flies,
Bereft of sense, he drops his head, and dies.
Young Ilioneus, the last, directs his pray'r,
And cries, "My life, ye gods celestial! spare."
Apollo heard, and pity touch'd his heart,
But ah! too late, for he had sent the dart:
Thou too, O Ilioneus, art doom'd to fall,
The fates refuse that arrow to recal.
On the swift wings of ever flying Fame
To Cadmus' palace soon the tidings came:
Niobe heard, and with indignant eyes
She thus express'd her anger and surprise:
"Why is such privilege to them allow'd?
"Why thus insulted by the Delian god?
"Dwells there such mischief in the pow'rs above?
"Why sleeps the vengeance of immortal Jove?"
For now Amphion too, with grief oppress'd,
Had plung'd the deadly dagger in his breast.
Niobe now, less haughty than before,
With lofty head directs her steps no more
She, who late told her pedigree divine,
And drove the Thebans from Latona's shrine,
How strangely chang'd!--yet beautiful in woe,
She weeps, nor weeps unpity'd by the foe.
On each pale corse the wretched mother spread
Lay overwhelm'd with grief, and kiss'd her dead,
Then rais'd her arms, and thus, in accents slow,
"Be sated cruel Goddess! with my woe;
"If I've offended, let these streaming eyes,
"And let this sev'nfold funeral suffice:
"Ah! take this wretched life you deign'd to save,
"With them I too am carried to the grave.
"Rejoice triumphant, my victorious foe,
"But show the cause from whence your triumphs flow?
"Tho' I unhappy mourn these children slain,
"Yet greater numbers to my lot remain."
She ceas'd, the bow string twang'd with awful sound,
Which struck with terror all th' assembly round,
Except the queen, who stood unmov'd alone,
By her distresses more presumptuous grown.
Near the pale corses stood their sisters fair
In sable vestures and dishevell'd hair;
One, while she draws the fatal shaft away,
Faints, falls, and sickens at the light of day.
To sooth her mother, lo! another flies,
And blames the fury of inclement skies,
And, while her words a filial pity show,
Struck dumb--indignant seeks the shades below.
Now from the fatal place another flies,
Falls in her flight, and languishes, and dies.
Another on her sister drops in death;
A fifth in trembling terrors yields her breath;
While the sixth seeks some gloomy cave in vain,
Struck with the rest, and mingled with the slain.
One only daughter lives, and she the least;
The queen close clasp'd the daughter to her breast:
"Ye heav'nly pow'rs, ah spare me one," she cry'd,
"Ah! spare me one," the vocal hills reply'd:
In vain she begs, the Fates her suit deny,
In her embrace she sees her daughter die.
* "The queen of all her family bereft,
"Without or husband, son, or daughter left,
"Grew stupid at the shock. The passing air
"Made no impression on her stiff'ning hair.

* This Verse to the End is the Work of another Hand.

"The blood forsook her face: amidst the flood
"Pour'd from her cheeks, quite fix'd her eye-balls
"Her tongue, her palate both obdurate grew,
"Her curdled veins no longer motion knew;
"The use of neck, and arms, and feet was gone,
"And ev'n her bowels hard'ned into stone:
"A marble statue now the queen appears,
"But from the marble steal the silent tears."

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Les (
Date: June 18, 2003 01:38PM

Since Chesil is probably to modest to post his own work, I will kindly submit this one by one of our own forum members:

Author: Chesil (
Date: 12-27-02 13:30

My Dali Print

There is a Dali print on the wall,
it has hung in that place for years.
A molten twisted landscape that
draws me in and now and again
I stand to confront it, dare it
to reveal some subtle detail
that I had missed before.
If I see some small new piece,
I wonder if it was there yesterday
or whether the image has shifted.
Perhaps I had to change to see?

Breughel, Brueghel
Posted by: Henryp (213.78.120.---)
Date: June 18, 2003 04:03PM

Marian NYC

It's Kermis met Toneel en Processie by Pieter Breughel II,
or Kermesse avec Theatre et Procession by Pieter Brueghel II, or Pierre Breughel dit d'Enfer,
whichever you prefer!

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: June 18, 2003 05:10PM

Wow! Thanks for all those. I shall have great fun matching the poems to the pictures.

I'll also have to find Catullus' s lament for the sparrow, to try and see if it's that, or the painting Millay was referring to.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Henryp (213.78.99.---)
Date: June 18, 2003 07:35PM

My Last Duchess by Robert Browning, although no known painting has been linked to the poem.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: RJAllen (193.114.111.---)
Date: June 19, 2003 04:44AM

The book's Paul Durcan; Give me your hand. I'd remembered an anthology, but can't find that.
Bingo! John Hollander: The gazer's spirit! Not NG, but I'd mixed it up with Durcan.
John Skelton wrote a poem inspired by Catullus: Philip Sparrow.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: June 19, 2003 10:44AM


This topic will expand as much as you allow it to! I just went looking for "Philip Sparrow" -- because there's a line in Shakespeare that uses "Philip Sparrow" the way we use "Joe Blow" or "John Doe" -- and found a Robert Graves poem about John Skelton... and on and on.


At [] there's a review of "A long poem loosely based on the French Romantic painter Theodore Gericault's studies leading up to the painting of "The Raft of the Medusa" in the early 19th century."

A "prose poem" also inspired by THE RAFT OF THE MEDUSA:
[] />
Another poem (this one by Dan Featherston) about THE RAFT OF THE MEDUSA is mentioned at
[] />
" 'Combat between the Giaour and Hassan' - Delacroix's illustration of Byron's poem" is mentioned at
[] />

All that just re-confirms my hunch that you can search for POEM + [NAME OF A REALLY FAMOUS PAINTING] and get more material than you can possibly use.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: June 19, 2003 12:45PM

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Desi (
Date: June 20, 2003 10:29AM


Passer, deliciae meae puellae,
quicum ludere, quem in sinu tenere,
cui primum digitum dare appetenti
et acris solet incitare morsus,
cum desiderio meo nitenti
carum nescio quid lubet iocari,
et solaciolum sui doloris,
credo, ut tum gravis acquiescat ardor:
tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem
et tristis animi levare curas!

for a translation see:
[] />
it was one of the first latin poems I ever studied! (I was about 14 at the time)

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Mia (
Date: June 20, 2003 10:29AM

Candle Hat

In most self-portraits it is the face that dominates:
Cezanne is a pair of eyes swimming in brushstrokes,
Van Gogh stares out of a halo of swirling darkness,
Rembrandt looks relieved as if he were taking a breather
from painting The Blinding of Sampson.

But in this one Goya stands well back from the mirror
and is seen posed in the clutter of his studio
addressing a canvas tilted back on a tall easel.

He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew
we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head
which is fitted around the brim with candle holders,
a device that allowed him to work into the night.

You can only wonder what it would be like
to be wearing such a chandelier on your head
as if you were a walking dining room or concert hall.

But once you see this hat there is no need to read
any biography of Goya or to memorize his dates.

To understand Goya you only have to imagine him
lighting the candles one by one, then placing
the hat on his head, ready for a night of work.

Imagine him surprising his wife with his new invention,
the laughing like a birthday cake when she saw the glow.

Imagine him flickering through the rooms of his house
with all the shadows flying across the walls.

Imagine a lost traveler knocking on his door
one dark night in the hill country of Spain.
"Come in, " he would say, "I was just painting myself,"
as he stood in the doorway holding up the wand of a brush,
illuminated in the blaze of his famous candle hat.

Billy Collins


Study in Orange and White

I knew that James Whistler was part of the Paris scene,
but I was still surprised when I found the painting
of his mother at the Musée d'Orsay
among all the colored dots and mobile brushstrokes
of the French Impressionists.

And I was surprised to notice
after a few minutes of benign staring,
how that woman, stark in profile
and fixed forever in her chair,
began to resemble my own ancient mother
who was now fixed forever in the stars, the air, the earth.

You can understand why he titled the painting
"Arrangement in Gray and Black"
instead of what everyone naturally calls it,
but afterward, as I walked along the river bank,
I imagined how it might have broken
the woman's heart to be demoted from mother
to a mere composition, a study in colorlessness.

As the summer couples leaned into each other
along the quay and the wide, low-slung boats
full of spectators slid up and down the Seine
between the carved stone bridges
and their watery reflections,
I thought: how ridiculous, how off-base.

It would be like Botticelli calling "The Birth of Venus"
"Composition in Blue, Ochre, Green, and Pink,"
or the other way around
like Rothko titling one of his sandwiches of color
"Fishing Boats Leaving Falmouth Harbor at Dawn."

Or, as I scanned the menu at the cafe
where I now had come to rest,
it would be like painting something laughable,
like a chef turning on a spit
over a blazing fire in front of an audience of ducks
and calling it "Study in Orange and White."

But by that time, a waiter had appeared
with my glass of Pernod and a clear pitcher of water,
and I sat there thinking of nothing
but the women and men passing by--
mothers and sons walking their small fragile dogs--
and about myself,
a kind of composition in blue and khaki,
and, now that I had poured
some water into the glass, milky-green.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Desi (
Date: June 20, 2003 11:11AM

are you looking for poems based on paintings or also for paintings based on poems?

In that case check out:

[] />
[] />
I believe there are more, but am not sure.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: June 20, 2003 11:24AM

Hadn't thought of doing it that way round - it was really the poems based on paintings - I'm putting images of the paintings with the poems and seeing how they match up. So they have to be real paintings, not ones created in the poem, like 'My last Duchess.' to fit in. However, I'm really enjoying all the suggestions in the thread, whether they fit in or not.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Mia (
Date: June 20, 2003 11:24AM

Also, not exactly the theme, but it made me think of that one:

Anonymous Drawing

A delicate young Negro stands
With the reins of a horse clutched loosely in his hands;
So delicate, indeed, that we wonder if he can hold the spirited creature
beside him
Until the master shall arrive to ride him.
Already the animal's nostrils widen with rage or fear.
But if we imagine him snorting, about to rear,
This boy, who should know about such things better than we,
Only stands smiling, passive and ornamental, in a fantastic livery
Of ruffles and puffed breeches,
Watching the artist, apparently, as he sketches.
Meanwhile the petty lord who must have paid
For the artist's trip up from Perugia, for the horse, for the boy, for
everything here, in fact, has been delayed,
Kept too long by his steward, perhaps, discussing
Some business concerning the estate, or fussing
Over the details of his impeccable toilet
With a manservant whose opinion is that any alteration at all would spoil it.
However fast he should come hurrying now
Over this vast greensward, mopping his brow
Clear of the sweat of the fine Renaissance morning, it would be too late:
The artist will have had his revenge for being made to wait,
A revenge not only necessary but right and clever --
Simply to leave him out of the scene forever.

-- Donald Justice

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: June 20, 2003 12:02PM

PS Love the smile in Pam's posting, sometimes technological tricks are a mixed blessing.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Les (
Date: June 20, 2003 02:45PM

For all you art lovers, you might enjoy some of the paintings they're writing about here:

[] />

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: ilza (200.162.247.---)
Date: June 26, 2003 06:56AM

one more
Frederick Locker-Lampson (England May 29, 1821- May 30, 1895)

born Frederick Locker, he was famous for London Lyrics (1857),
a collection of light verse, very popular during the Victorian period.

he added the hyphenization in 1885, when he married a
younger Mistress Lampson ( his second marriage)

a close friend of illustrator Kate Greenaway, whom he dated,
he was also a good friend to Stevenson

George Romney, 1734-1802 - painter


To my grandmother
- Suggested by a Picture by Mr. Romney

Under the elm a rustic seat
Was merriest Susan's pet retreat
To merry-make.

This Relative of mine
Was she seventy-and-nine
When she died?
By the canvas may be seen
How she look'd at seventeen,
As a Bride.
Beneath a summer tree
Her maiden reverie
Has a charm;
Her ringlets are in taste;
What an arm! and what a waist
For an arm!

With her bridal-wreath, bouquet,
Lace farthingale, and gay
Falbala, --
If Romney's touch be true,
What a lucky dog were you,

Her lips are sweet as love;
They are parting! Do they move?
Are they dumb?
Her eyes are blue, and beam
Beseechingly, and seem
To say, "Come!"

What funny fancy slips
From atween these cherry lips?
Whisper me,
Fair Sorceress in paint,
What canon says I mayn't
Marry thee!

That good-for-nothing Time
Has a confidence sublime!
When I first
Saw this Lady, in my youth,
Her winters had, forsooth,
Done their worst.

Her locks, as white as snow,
Once shamed the swarthy crow;
That fowl's avenging sprite
Set his cruel foot for spite
Near her eye.

Her rounded form was lean,
And her silk was bombazine:
Well I wot
With her needles would she sit,
And for hours would she knit, --
Would she not?

Ah perishable clay!
Her charms had dropt away
One by one:
But if she heaved a sigh
With a burthen, it was, "Thy
Will be done."

In travail, as in tears,
With the fardel of her years
In mercy she was borne
Where the weary and the worn
Are at rest.

Oh if you now are there,
And sweet as once you were,
This nether world agrees
You'll all the better please

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: June 26, 2003 02:47PM

MONA LISA (song lyrics)

Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, men have named you
You're so like the lady with the mystic smile
Is it only 'cause you're lonely they have blamed you?
For that Mona Lisa strangeness in your smile?
Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?

Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?

Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa ...

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: June 26, 2003 02:50PM

A contemporary poem about Picasso's GUERNICA:
[] />

"parallels between T. S. Eliot's poem "The Waste Land" and Picasso's painting" and a way to view the painting:

[] />

Another poem about the same painting:


Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: June 26, 2003 02:55PM

I was surprised to learn that MICHELANGELO (the painter) wrote poetry.

Here is a translation of a poem he wrote ABOUT PAINTING THE SISTENE CHAPEL CEILING, and an interpretation of the poem:


Here is a site with other poetry he wrote:


Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: June 26, 2003 02:57PM

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Interview with Walk McDonald. He talks about (among other things) writing in response to paintings.

Search for "Rembrandt" to find that section.

Re: Passer Mortuus Est
Posted by: rikki (
Date: June 26, 2003 09:10PM

Here's one by austrian australian Margaret Diesendorf on "Le Christ de la Doleur", by Dirk Bouts - 15th century.

Musee du Louvre

The tourists went past, and they thought
(if they thought at all)
"oh yes... another Christ."
I watched them-
catching a glimpse perhaps
of a sad human shape,
blind to the calloused hands,
the nails chewed in secret grief.
Who wants to see a Christ so mean,
so workman-like, so small,
tears running from his eyes of sorrow
down the undistinguished nose;
a Christ who might have left the poorhouse,
driven out like Oliver Twist...
Yet - with a little faith - the tears
in those eyes might really start to flow,
the blood coagulate on the brow,
the mouth breathe life upon you
or cry: "Help!"

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