Saturday, October 29, 2011




Her Blue Dress
                      for Janice

You will want to know
the season
how a gown can slip itself over nose and cheek
and be visible from art
how Emily Dickinson stood by a window
pressing her pink hips
through a passage of time
lifting a blue taffeta dress
over her shoulders
to reach
cool, upturned toes
where poems lay like stepping stones
on the hardwood floor.
The long blue dress
was too big for this slip
of a girl
but she proceeded down the hall
where a mirror
motioned her to look
at the poet she would become.

I was instantly drawn to Janice's artwork at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, Ireland where we met and were housed in rather large cottages.  Her series included separate paintings joined as one.  I have used one panel only from her work titled Thoughts of Stones to represent a mirror and a blue dress. I saw Emily Dickinson's blue dress inside the painting (and, I guess, I was also inspired after reading Billy Collins' poem Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes

So there we were ( including Rebecca Crowell from Wisconsin- another fine artist!) each in our separate units, inspiring each other, and both encouraging me to visit the Megalithic art at Loughcrew.  I have many more poems to come!  Janice's Thoughts of Stones and her full art work can be viewed at Janice Mason Steeves

3 comments:

Janice Mason Steeves said...

Thank you Helen. What a beautiful poem. I'm delighted that my art inspired your poetry and that you see something in this work that is your own. That is the strength of abstract painting, that each person can read their own life into the work. I love that. Thanks for the honour of the poem.

sukipoet said...

Interesting poem. i read about it at JM Steeves blog. i like the idea of Emily as a child, walking the stepping stones to poetry. wonderful JMS' painting inspired you this way. and thanks for the link to Billy Collins' poem too as i hadnt read that. you know, i live about two hours away from Emily's house in Amherst. it is now open to the public at regular hours so i must take meself down there to see it.

good luck with your writing. suki

Evangelyne said...

Dear Suki
It's amazing how you have imagined Emily Dickinson as a young girl. I hadn't thought of that! Thanks also for the links and lucky you - being near Emily's house. While in Ireland I visited Yeats' grave, a very modest one, but he has many visitors.

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Helen Hagemann's first literary collection, Evangelyne & other poems, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series 2009. 'of Arc & Shadow' is her second full collection published by Sunline Press. She has two e-books, The Joyous Lake & Par écrit: poetry of the feminine @ http://issuu.com/evangelyne/​​docs/joyous_lake/

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