Poems are made from images


Ekphrasis is a greek word and it means a poetic description of an artwork. Literally ἐκ ek means “out” and φράσις phrásis, means “speak”. To “speak out” an artwork in a poem, is a great way to remember the moment of encounter.

The process of finding words to describe an artwork, engages additional cognitive pathway and enhances the visual experience. I keep these poems not for literary purposes, but as bottled-up moments. Sometimes the process is not finished and the words keep fermenting until the cork pops out!

My recommendation is to read the poems first and only then to click on the museum links to find the images.

Eglė Gineitytė, Friends, 2007

MO Museum, Vilnius

The trick is to trace this icy horizon 
all the way back to summer,
To travel from peppery snow to purple thrift.
To play the trumpet of your friendship
and to find it trotting along tirelessly,
a little wet nose pointing west. 

Karen Vanhercke

Romualdas Rakauskas, Blossoming, 1970

MO museum, Vilnius

When a black and white photo
turns its volume up
and pink petals of your laughter 
drift down from its frame 
to kiss my face and hands,
I feel rich, just standing there, 
owning nothing but my senses.

Karen Vanhercke

Silvestras Džiaukštas, Plants for a Balcony, 1974

National Gallery of Art, Vilnius.

This odd angular desert, 
Doesn't reflect you,
Nor the pale faced flower
Which magically appeared
On that small cactus -
Clearly, you know,
How to make things bloom -,
But I can show you a boat
Moored on the edge of a dream
Ready to escape over green
Water that never runs out.

Karen Vanhercke

Paul Graham,  A shimmer of Possibility, (North Dakota) , 2005.

MoMa, New York

My engine with a thousand miles on it
Slips like a wave cloud, at the crack of dawn, 
Under the canopy of this 3 pump Station
Merging metal and sky a deep Dieselrot
Bis Zum Horizont, I slur my words like
A North Dakota German, while filling up 
My tank with a shimmer of possibility.

Karen Vanhercke