Ekphrastic Poetry Prompt
Ekphrastic Poetry Prompt

When you have given all, then lost,
is this the colour of blame?
The love that drips from your sweet lips
and drowns someone in shame.

When young, their hue was vestal white,
their innocence on view.
As you would vanquish suitors all,
just one will conquer you.

The age of love, engorged with red,
this procreative flower
would then attract them and their charm
laid helpless in your bower.

But summer’s heat and light turned blue
in autumn’s lengthened shade
and, as the scented bloom decays,
a nation’s colours fade.

When you have given all and lost,
is this the colour of blame?
The love that drips from your sweet lips
and drowns someone in shame.

[This was originally the first of a series of picture prompts, which produced some searing poems from the Grass Roots Poetry Group, all of which can be seen here]

© 2012, poem, John Anstie, All rights reserved; photograph courtesy of Jessie J Daily.

10 thoughts on “Decline

  1. Really like this, John. You did justice to the prompt, and when it comes to politics, I imagine there aren’t many who feel shame at destroying or conquering a nation in its elder years (although they damned well should). Well-penned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sort of Nationalism with sensual overtones, Michael … maybe? It’s one of those poems I keep returning to, that speaks more words to me than there are actually there. I find it rather neat and, in a strange way, I find that particularly satisfying and I can’t say that about many of my poems!

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      1. I wonder. In this age of globalization, which follows upon the Cosmopolitanism of the 20th Century, I think it could be possible to escape the national. Perhaps through intersecting identities and nationalities, ethnicities and religions that transcend artificial national borders, and affinities that do not reside in nation or ethnic or religious cultures. Possibly.

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        1. My apologies for a very delayed reply, Michael … the result of a busy time with visiting hoards of family and grandchildren during half term.

          Wouldn’t it be nice to break down those National(-istic) barriers, but I harbour a concern over such aspirations that, I fear, are beyond most human beings either to conceive in reality and to control. We are bound by the environment of our birth and the genetic pool, from which we arise. It is perhaps, therefore, resultant human culture that determines these barriers or, perhaps more likely, that is determined by those barriers, which are erected, fought over and/or determined by external political forces and power mongers. Once again this brings us back to the 99% vs the 1% … ?

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          1. I’m not convinced that nations have much to do with genetic pools. In fact, one reason why there is so much conflict is that different cultures and ethnicities have been thrown together into artificial nations (generally by the Colonial Powers of old and post-WWII political haggling among their ghosts) and divided between different nations. While that fact would suggest support for your argument about genetic pools being binding, it suggests that it is not related to nation. Nations are not natural constructs, but relatively recent inventions—the first “nation states” arose from the French and U.S. Revolutions. Still, even with a genetic linkage, the Cosmopolitan of the 20th C. and Globalism of late-20th C. to the present actually involves a lot of inter-ethnic, inter-gene pool parenting. In the U.S., which is where I know the data better, more and more students entering college are identifying as multi-racial. Think of Tiger Woods as a sort of celebrity image of this identity. I resist the idea of biological determinism of conflict. On the other hand, where you write about socio-cultural determination of barriers, divisions, and conflict, I couldn’t agree more. And yes, it does suggest the 99% – 1% question, but not only that. However, especially that divide, seems socio-political-cultural in its construction and maintenance.

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            1. Yes, yes and yes, Michael. I agree particularly because of rapidly developing globalised transport and communication systems, that national genetic pools have become more merged. But, I maintain that there will always remain differences, if only by virtue of environmental variations across the globe. I also still believe in an infinitely variable mix of nature and nurture that determines human personality and behaviours.

              I have a theory, which I have not committed to paper not have I allowed it to evolve yet, but it’s basis is founded upon a principle that each individual is just that – unique, by virtue of a multiplicity of contributory causes. This can be visually represented by a sphere of intersecting spectra. Each spectrum describes a human characteristic. The sphere has no upper limit in size. Thereby, each human individual, who has ever lived, who lives now or will ever live on this earth, will be indentical to any other, in every characteristic. I’m not sure what use this is to our future on this s earth, but it is beginning to help understand it better. It also sits well my personal helicopter (or perhaps intergalactic spaceship) perspective of life on Earth.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. Yes, yes and yes, Michael. I agree particularly because of rapidly developing globalised transport and communication systems, that national genetic pools have become more merged. But, I maintain that there will always remain differences, if only by virtue of environmental variations across the globe. I also still believe in an infinitely variable mix of nature and nurture that determines human personality and behaviours.

              I have a theory, which I have not committed to paper not have I allowed it to evolve yet, but it’s basis is founded upon a principle that each individual is just that – unique, by virtue of a multiplicity of contributory causes. This can be visually represented by a sphere of intersecting spectra. Each spectrum describes a human characteristic. The sphere has no upper limit in size. Thereby, each human individual, who has ever lived, who lives now or will ever live on this earth, will be indentical to any other, in every characteristic. I’m not sure what use this is to our future on this s earth, but it is beginning to help understand it better. It also sits well my personal helicopter (or perhaps intergalactic spaceship) perspective of life on Earth.

              Liked by 1 person

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