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Hello, fellow dVerse Poets. Victoria, here. Today, I’m ever so grateful to hand over the pen and camera to the talented James Rainsford who will treat you to the subject of:

Patterns Pictures and Poems


James Rainsford

We are pattern seeking primates, forever searching for connections, coincidences and significance. Our desire for order and meaning frequently leads us down blind alleys and prompts us to believe unreasonable things. Fortunately, the corollary of our need to order and comprehend the complexities of our brief existence also gives rise to our creativity.

This happy circumstance has led to all the disparate forms of human artistic expression, including poetry. The wish to share our perceptions and quest for meaning has frequently resulted in combining different artistic forms. Opera for example, combines in dramatic form, language, movement and music. Poetry has frequently been performed to music, especially jazz. Many would assert that the songs of artists such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are both musical and poetic. Throughout history, artists have sought to illuminate and complement their words with pictures. Both the visual and linguistic imaginations are enhanced by this combination. It is no coincidence, that the most engaging children’s stories are usually illustrated with pictures which expand and enrich the text.

Those who’ve previously visited my blog: ‘The Sanctum of Sanity’ or who’ve viewed my photographs, will be familiar with my passion for combining images and words. At its best photography and poetry become the perfect partnership, each infusing the other with new layers of meaning and enlightenment. We should coin a new term for this magical marriage of words and images ‘Poetography’ perhaps?

There seems to be an almost universal consensus that poetry is ‘art,’ although it is evident in the richness and diversity of poetic expression that complex thought is not always simply conveyed and not all poetry is of equal artistic merit. I’ve rarely heard the claim that poetry is not ‘art,’ but have frequently encountered the question ‘Is photography art?’ My answer has always been, ‘sometimes.’

For me, photography holds a very special and unique place in my personal artistic repertoire. It allows me to capture an unrepeatable visual moment, which has never been before, and will never be again. It can freeze forever a complex story in a single image. This is its power, and what I believe constitutes its best claim to be thought a true ‘art-form’

Consider this image, which I’ve previously shared on-line.

Copyright: James Rainsford, Used with Permission

This photo, entitled: ‘Reflections’ was taken in an Amsterdam park in early autumn. It illustrates for me the truth of the saying: ‘A picture speaks a thousand words.’ It captures a unique moment in time and space, which tells many possible stories. I’ve never attempted to write a poem prompted by this picture, but I invite you to consider its possibilities, and if inspired, please write and share your vision with us at dVerse Poets this evening.

Some poems are intensely visual and cry out for a partnership with a picture. As an example, here’s a photo and poem in which I specifically set out to create a word-picture:

Photo Copyright: James Rainsford, Used with Permission

The Gulls

Beyond this screaming shore
gulls soar, zagged and buffeted.
Modifying flight, they flip from grey
to white and light the day
with sudden and sustaining flare of wing.
They fling their competent contempt
into cyclonic air’s attempt
to tear them from the sky.
And brilliantly defy the ancient try
of conquered gales to dash their
frailty into the sounding spray,
which spumes tall fumes of mist
to kiss their skill.

© James Rainsford 2012

I don’t work to a set pattern to create a poem or photo. Mostly the poem comes first, and then I either select an image from my photo library, or occasionally venture out with my camera to try and capture a relevant moment.

For this weeks Poetics I invite you to write, or use an existing poem to illuminate my photograph, ‘Reflections,’ printed above. If this photo doesn’t inspire you, then please copy and paste any of the following images as your inspiration, or post one of your own photographs as your prompt. I’ve selected four very different photos from which to choose. I hope one of them strikes a creative chord:

Photo Copyright: James Rainsford. Used with Permission.


Photo Copyright: James Rainsford. Used with Permission.

Photo Copyright: James Rainsford. Used with Permission.

For those who’d like to know more about me, or view my work, here are the relevant links:

My Official Website: http://www.jamesrainsford.com

My Photographs: http://bit.ly/advbT8

My Poetry Blog: http://www.thesanctumofsanity.blogspot.com

My Grumpy Blog: http://www.irascibleinsights.blogspot.com

Finally, a big thank you to Victoria Slotto and the editors at dVerse Poets who have given me the opportunity to be your guest host for this edition of ‘Poetics.’ I hope some of you have found it of interest and feel inspired to be creative and post a poem. Kind regards to all, and I look forward to reading and commenting on your work. James.

Thank YOU, James. The hardest part of this prompt will be to decide which photo to use.

Now, my lovely and handsome poets, it’s all yours. To participate:

  • Write your poem and post it on your blog.
  • Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post.
  • Add your name and the direct URL of your blog. Mr. Linky will show you where.
  • Come on over to the pub to imbibe, visit and comment on your fellow participants.
  • Above all, have fun!