Guiding Lights

Guiding Lights

Concerns far behind us,
we reflect on direction,
guided by the light
of a thousand million souls.

Embracing the calm
descending upon us,
our course is clear
as we go forward, together.

This is a further revision of a poem that originated in February 2016, then revised and featured at The Ekphrastic Review in September 2018. All are inspired by Starry Night Over the Rhone, by Vincent van Gogh.

The poem as it appeared in 2016

Guiding Lights

Beneath the gaze of
a thousand million souls,
guided by their light,
we choose our path

Past concerns behind us,
we make our way,
our thoughts only for
what lies ahead

And as it appeared in
The Ekphrastic Review in 2018

Guiding Lights

Awake in this moment,
our concerns far behind us,
we make our way,
reflecting on direction.

Beneath the gaze
of a thousand million souls,
guided by their light,
our path is chosen.

Our course made clear,
we embrace the calm
that descends upon us
going forward, together.

Ken Gierke

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Poem Up at The Ekphrastic Review ~&~ Mark Rothko Blues

My poem “the differences subtle” appears at Ekphrastic Writing Challenge Responses: Mark Rothko. It can be seen here, with other deserving reads. The painting “Untitled (Black on Red, 1957),” by Mark Rothko, is the inspiration for the challenge.  Once again, I’m fortunate to be on the same page as Kerfe Roig.
My thanks go to Lorette C. Luzajic, Editor at The Ekphrastic Review, for including my poem.

After submitting this, I read about the “Rothko” in a post by Paul Szlosek, and I decide to try the form. The “Rothko” was created by poet Bob Holman. Following Mark Rothko’s practice of using three distinct colors, it contains three lines, three words per line, in a tic-tac-toe pattern (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) – written while standing in front of a Rothko painting (here, viewing the image).

Mark Rothko Blues

red heat surrounding
scarlet barely surviving
blackness consuming all

Ken G.

Image source: Tate – Untitled (Black on Red, 1957), by Mark Rothko

Poem Up at The Ekphrastic Review

My poem “Imperfectly Purified” appears at Ekphrastic Writing Challenge Responses: Cristobal Rojas.  It can be seen here, with other deserving reads.  The painting “El Purgatorio,” by Cristobal Rojas is the inspiration for the challenge, and I am pleased that Kerfe Roig is among the poets with whom I share recognition.
My thanks go to Guest Editor Janette Schafer at The Ekphrastic Review, for including my poem.

Ken G.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons – El Purgatorio, by Cristobal Rojas

Lighthouse in the Desert – ekphrastic poem


Lighthouse in the Desert

In a tale of discernment,
not desperation,
a heart lost on a barren plain
thirsts for love.

Dismissing pretenders,
with their bent ways
of drinking the light of others
to feed their own dark nature,

it seeks one that also seeks
a love that is both nurtured
and shared, finding that balance
in the one true lighthouse in the desert.

This poem was inspired by “Desert Horizons I,” a watercolor by Jason Hugger of Phoenix, Arizona. Jason says that discarded objects inspire his surrealistic desert landscape paintings. “The types of objects I select to use as reference for my paintings are usually heavily rusted and broken pieces of metal. Often I am not able to identify them and I find that intriguing. Reusing them gives them a second life and a beauty they may not have originally had as tools or other useful items.” (click image for larger view in new tab)

The prompt for for Day 22
is to write a poem that engages with another art form.


Safe Mode ~ video poem

Safe Mode



Expressions of a heart
                    a mind
          a soul


Until they coalesce
find their way to a page
          a screen

No longer read only from memory

Yet not all see the light of day

written in safe mode

Painting by Ron Schira ~ Safe Mode #36

Darkness Released

Darkness Released

Jackson Pollock, untitled (1941)

Inner turmoil long restrained,
draining all strength,
seeks an outlet.

Understanding, born
of disaffection,
finds direction.

Vision, a product of light,
rises from darkness,
no longer contained.

even in the light,
is still darkness.

With Guess That Art III, Ronovan asks us to write a poem inspired by a painting, artist and title unnamed. Coincidentally, the night before the prompt, I finished reading the autobiography of Thomas Hart Benton, in which a late chapter (added in a later revision) discussed this artist, Jackson Pollock. It prompted me to look for examples of his work. I was surprised by this piece, untitled (1941), and a few others as they are not the sort of work I associated with him.

Image source: