NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 6

Detail from The Garden of Earthly Delights
by Hieronymus Bosch


Today’s prompt challenges us to “write a poem from the point of view of one person/animal/thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous (and famously bizarre) triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. Whether you take the position of a twelve-legged clam, a narwhal with a cocktail olive speared on its horn, a man using an owl as a pool toy, or a backgammon board being carried through a crowd by a fish wearing a tambourine on its head, I hope that you find the experience deliriously amusing. And if the thought of speaking in the voice of a porcupine-as-painted-by-a-man-who-never-saw-one leaves you cold, perhaps you might write from the viewpoint of Bosch himself? Very little is known about him, so there’s plenty of room for invention, embroidery, and imagination.” ~ NaPoWriMo, Day 6

After a gazillion false starts, beginning with Eve’s angry voice and ending with a lusty strawberry’s point of view, I went to the dark side and wrote about a relationship gone wrong. This is what master Bosch’s imagination has done to mine (all right, I do tend toward the macabre, but still). Also of help was this short article and the piece of music it talks about. I played it on a loop while writing the poem. Despite the torture scene, the melody is quite soothing. Attached are the two details I focused on in the right panel of the triptych.

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PS–Most of the poems written this April will remain online for up to five days, after which they will be replaced by an excerpt, an erasure, or a thoroughly amateurish art piece that will only allow for bits of the original poem to peek through. At least, this is the plan. The reason being that, at some point, in the hopefully not too distant future, these drafts will undergo revision and begin their multiple-year pilgrimage through the slush piles of many a literary journal. So help me, O Muse.

PPS–After five days, the seashell angels returned once again to stage another erasure. They brought along an unidentifiable guest with an alarmingly overdeveloped tongue. Why? Because the Bosch told them to.

Poetry from the trenches, Day 6



18 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 6

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  1. [quote deleted by RI]

    The entire poem is gorgeously vivid and so full of energy and THOSE LINES (I agree with Elizabeth!) It really does capture a relationship gone wrong (it resonates with the ones that went wrong for me, certainly!) And YES THE BUTT MUSIC – I remember being absolutely delighted someone played it when I first came across that article!

    I know you mentioned that you couldn’t find my link the last time so here it is!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It does speak to me indeed! It’s very identifiable, and beautifully described. And take your time! I’m behind, as it is, but I’ll eventually catch up with my missing three days…I hope!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Pace yourself–you don’t want to burn out. I needed a long nap today after an intense few days of writing and thinking about writing, and worrying that I’m not writing enough. The nap left me with little time to write tonight, but I’m glad I took it.💜


          1. That’s really good advice – I already have so much writing for work, sometimes I forget that I might burn out too writing creatively. Nap! I need to remember to nap sometimes! ❤

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Liz!🥰 I was looking at Dutch proverbs earlier today, hoping to find some inspiration. One that jumped at me was “Standing with a mouth full of teeth”–as in, standing idly, being useless or in the way. That little spark somehow led to this line, even though the meaning changed.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Well done. Feels very Bosch-ish. I’m passing on this prompt because I don’t want to descend into his hell or even just insanity. I’m impressed you went there and achieved this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! My father introduced me to Bosch when I was very young, so I grew up loving his work. Yet I still discover new oddities in this triptych, funny–and terrifying–surprises. I wonder what his dreams were like. It must have been quite a burden to carry all these creatures in his mind.

      Liked by 1 person

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