An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

Local Salem poets have provided us a new “take” on Quinton’s paintings.   We see them in a “new light”.   Here is an ekphrastic poem about “The Numenous Room” (found in the gallery)  by Blake Campbell.  It was recently published in the Able Muse –A national review of Poetry, Prose & Art

Numenous Room


The wind surrounds us, taking stock

Of all that goes unseen, unsaid

In white rooms where the living walk

And blue rooms peopled by the dead.


Two realms, two houses intersect;

The walls between them dissipate,

Reflecting what they recollect

But struggling to get it straight.


Men dead for decades reappear

In lines the living blur and blot

Until it is no longer clear

Who’s really here and who is not—


Who’s ghost, who’s guest, who’s resident?

An open house without a close

Admits the things it underwent

Until the present overflows.


The breath of those who came before

Still fogs the panes and pricks the skin;

We take their steps across the floor

Not knowing where their feet have been.


For History (none would deny)

Is by its nature incomplete:

No chronicler can tell us why

The fire spared this stretch of street,


And if the victors write it down

And shape the present with their pens,

The future reads the past’s renown

As through a cracked and clouded lens.


And we are scrutinized in turn

By those who watch us from the blue,

The dead who seldom do return

To rearrange the world they knew.


Although they show themselves at times

In flickers, or the smell of bread,

Or when the family china chimes

Beneath a phantom’s heavy tread,


They soon withdraw. Their faces fray

Like faces etched in windswept sand

Or wisps in cloudscapes blown away

By one exacting painter’s hand.



Numenous Room
What is the poet’s personal and unique reaction which the piece of art work evokes?

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