Inspiration de Chagall – cross-out poem

a model sobbed in Russian
studios rang with guitars,
Jewish discussions

I was alone in my studio
crammed with pictures,
canvases not canvases

three o’clock
blue dawn is breaking

a little way off,
cows bellowed,
and I painted them
all night long


Inspiration de Chagall
Elusive Trope has inspired me to try my hand at blackout/cross-out poetry, a form at which he excels. Following his poem When Dusk Appears, in response to Jane Dougherty’s Weekly Poetry Challenge #39: Sleep walking and inspired by the Marc Chagall painting Le Somnambule, Doug cites a quote about Chagall’s time in a communal studio setting – from Marc Chagall. The Russian Years 1906-1922 (exhibition catalogue), Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 1991 – which I first re-formatted into verses, before revising once again, this time with cross-out.
That original quote:

“While an offended model sobbed in the Russian ateliers, the Italian studios rang with songs and the sound of guitars, the Jewish ones with discussions, I was alone in my studio in front of my oil lamp. A studio crammed with pictures, with canvases that were not really canvases, but my tablecloths, sheets, and nightshirts torn into pieces. Two or three o’clock in the morning. The sky is blue. Dawn is breaking. Down there, a little way off, they slaughtered cattle, cows bellowed, and I painted them. I used to sit up like that all night long”

Thank you, Doug.

Ken G.


18 thoughts on “Inspiration de Chagall – cross-out poem

  1. Pingback: Poetry challenge Sleep walking: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

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