Skip to content

Prompt 203 Shell

March 5, 2014


Artwork credit: Catrin Welz-Stein’s “Cocoon 2”

Egg shells. Snail shells. Sea shells.

A shell is a covering. Appears hard. An exoskeleton. But it’s brittle. Much like a heart. As you probably know–unless you’ve been living under a rock—Neil and I have been bringing out your poems for the inaugural Spring 2014 issue of Red Wolf Journal. Today I’d like you to think about the journal’s cover art, Catrin Welz-Stein’s “Cocoon 2”, and write an ekphrastic poem. Why does the nautilus-like cocoon harbor a woman holding lilies? Think about a harbor. Or chrysalis—ah my favorite past-time. Every poet’s favorite, I suspect. Does time seem to stand still when one is in a chrysalis? Is the process of making art a chrysalis-like thing? Why are we seeing double? Is the universe in fact not one, but two? The one you’re in being mirrored in another? Or the one you’re in, versus the one you’d like to be in? Is that also a function of art? Think about what T S Eliot, in “Burnt Norton”, means when he writes of a rose garden:

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Toward the door we never opened
Into the rose garden.

Think about consciousness as a rose garden. Hold that image. Then write.

Oh (and if you get lucky), your poem gets to be featured in Red Wolf Journal.

  1. March 6, 2014 12:59 am

    This is the link to Roslyn’s poem

  2. March 6, 2014 3:36 am

    Irene, as I read your prompt I am (again) in awe of the way your mind skitters in so many directions. You have an amazing imagination. So many ideas about how to look at the picture that would never have occurred to me on my own. I’m going to try and let this rigid brain flow free. We’ll see where it takes me. Thanks for a great prompt.

    • March 6, 2014 5:10 am

      Hope it’s inspiring, Debi, in a somewhat provocative way.

    • March 7, 2014 9:57 pm

      Hi Debi, great read. Enjoyed it twice. A double scoop. I appreciated the progression and imagery behind it. From the linear thought to building intricate rooms in cocoon. Brilliant.

  3. March 6, 2014 6:15 am

    Funny. I didn’t see the picture that way.

    • March 7, 2014 6:14 pm

      That’s awesome. I love your take on this one. I think it goes well with the photo. Such an interesting photo too!

  4. March 6, 2014 6:24 am

    Name of Your Post Here

    Still working through some family issues. But there is a happy ending 🙂

    • March 6, 2014 6:29 am

      oops I forgot to put the name in: it is carapace – but the link should still work


      You can delete the top one or this one as the link goes to the same place.

  5. March 6, 2014 12:01 pm

    My “Shell” poem is on my blog Marianv,blog,co,uk “The Reunion”.

  6. March 6, 2014 4:32 pm

    My shell poem is here

  7. March 7, 2014 3:52 am

    Hello all. Thanks for prompt!

    Blossom into Woman


  8. March 7, 2014 6:57 am

    When you finally see the obvious, it gets much easier lol,


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: