Poetry Painting Project: Day 1


For the past couple of months I have been working on a huge new secret project with my painter, Addie Hirshten, of Studio Alchemy

We selected 30 poems (from the public domain) and each day for the next 30 days I will write a poem inspired by it, and Addie will paint a painting.

Expect an outpouring of creative energy! This is the sort of big project that artists live for … where we can say what we yearn to say.  Big picture stuff. Heart wrenching stuff. I feel so inspired by the poetry we are working with AND seeing Addie’s process as well. Expect daily surprises with our posts. Expect passion. Expect love. Expect life.

Check Out Addie’s Instagram Account: www.instagram.com/alchemy.of.art.addie.hirschten/

Check out Addie’s art studio — Studio Alchemy:

So, without further ado, let’s get to today’s painting and poem, inspired by Matsuo Bashō’s poem An ancient pond …

To read this poem, click here (or scroll down near the bottom of the page)


The Plunge By Addie Hirschten


(a reimagined telling of Odin’s sacrifice)

You, old frog,
warts and all, gazed
at the still, black water
from a thicket of reeds.

You listened absently
to the sound of crickets.

How long had you stared,
with tears in your bulbous eyes,
at the moon’s reflection?

The night had been long.
It had been more than a year
since the pearl of the sun
fell in Lake Mimir.

How long, old frog, had you,
out of cowardice,
evaded your destiny?

“Enough,” croaked the frog,
“I am a friend to mankind,
and, like Prometheus,
will give you fire!”

Then you, wise, old frog,
plucked out your eye!
Oh, the pain! The socket bled.
You paid your due for the shaman’s sight,
saw the sun in your head,
lost in the riverbed.

With one momentous leap,
you dove into Lake Mimir
and braved alien-like fish,
predators all,
their long teeth arrayed
in tight rows
like the bayonets of a tyrant’s army.

You sussed out the pearl of the sun,
pulled it out of the muck,
and swam to the surface
as fast as your strong, squat legs
could carry you.

Wise, old frog!
A winged dragon you then became!
Your destiny honored! Coward no longer!
You bore the burning sun,
soared up into the sky,
black and full of stars,
and placed her on her golden throne,
and the heavens shone,
and mankind cried for joy,
once again felt her warmth,
and saw the light of day.

It had been far too long.

Wise, old frog!
You were too long a miserable chrysalis.
Still … we thank you for your sacrifice.


by Matsuo Bashō

An ancient pond!
With a sound from the water
Of the frog as it plunges in.

Matsuo Bashō, 1644-1694. Born in Matsuo Chuemon Munefusa, Japan, and was the most famous poet of the Edo period.
Link to Biography: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/basho
Link to Poem: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Frog_Poem_(Aston)
Found in: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/A_History_of_Japanese_Literature
Link to Translator: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_George_Aston

There is an energy in the creative process that belongs in the league of those energies which can uplift, unify, and harmonize all of us.

Corita Kent

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