Students in my Introduction to Fine Arts class experienced the ways in which various forms of art can interrelate by writing original poems based upon paintings they chose from a collection of available images. Their poems were written in the form of haikus, with a per-line syllable count of 5-7-5, but I did not enforce the rule about contradicting ideas or thoughts. As I’ve done before, I present to you a few of the outstanding efforts from the students in my Spring Break hybrid-mini class of 2018.

We’ll start with Brennan Claflin, who chose Seaport at Sunset by Claude Lorrain (1639).

lorrain - seaport at sunset

Seaport at Sunset

Ships come into port;

Sun sets in the western sky.

Freight is unloaded.

Next we have Delaney Gusdorff, who wrote two verses about Armand Guillaumin’s Sunset at Ivry (1873). I find it interesting that both of these paintings showcase the predominant transport industries of their times, although they were created 234 years apart.

guillaumin - setting sun at ivry

Sunset at Ivry

Overwhelming smoke,

Immense beauty in the sky.

Which do I see most?

– – – – – – – – – –

God made the nature;

Humans make pollution, but

We’re His creation.

Henri Rousseau’s Tiger in a Tropical Storm (1891) inspired David Hairston to write his haiku.  Rousseau later changed the title of this work to Surprised! in order to submit the painting in an exhibit of independent artists that were challenging the status quo. David reflected the two titles in the two verses of his poem.

rousseau - tiger in a tropical storm

Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!)

Tiger prowls in grass,

Masked by the thunder and light.

Eyes open with fear.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tiger prowls in grass,

Surprised in the stormy night.

Floating over prey.

Quaker preacher Edward Hicks painted 62 versions of The Peaceable Kingdom. The version pictured here was completed in 1826 and now hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Keara Walley‘s haiku is unique because, in addition to the 5-7-5 form, it also rhymes!

hicks - peaceable kingdom

The Peaceable Kingdom

Beasts of land and sea

Truly at peace we may be,

For God so loved we.

Melissa Mullen‘s gentle poem contains a clever internal rhyme. She was inspired by Mary Cassatt’s equally gentle painting, titled Summertime (1894).

cassatt - summertime


Floating silently;

Cool breeze in the air, and not

A care in the world.

Finally, Evyn Seaman‘s haiku shares a thoughtful, theological interpretation of René Magritte’s The Son of Man (1946).

Ren? Magritte, The Son of Man, 1964, Restored by Shimon D. Yanowitz, 2009  øðä îàâøéè, áðå ùì àãí, 1964, øñèåøöéä ò"é ùîòåï éðåáéõ, 2009

The Son of Man

One bite, then came fall.

Always working, debt still tall—

He came, freed us all.

Thank you for reading. I’d like to thank the students named above for granting me permission to share their creations with you. I hope you enjoyed them!

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