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Still working

August 26, 2012

Thanks to Claudia at the dVerse Poets Pub, I have been introduced to the art of Dutch painter Borg de Nobel, who seems like someone I would get along with splendidly: a self-proclaimed gypsy who lives on a sailboat outside Amsterdam; a traveler, reader, writer, and gardener, as well as artist. If I ever get back to the Netherlands or Hungary, I’ll have to invite her to join me for a beer.

In the meantime, this week’s Poetics prompt was to write a piece inspired by one of Borg’s paintings. I went with her choice for the prompt, “Working Still” (shown below), but you should check out some of pieces other dVerse poets chose to write about, plus my favorite work from the collection on her blog, “Stuff & Matter.” Thanks, Claudia and Borg, for getting the pen back in my hand this week.

Working Still by Borg de Nobel / used with permission /

Working Still by Borg de Nobel / used with permission /

working still working
as ursa major hangs overhead
ready to catch
me the little dipper
still perched on
four wobbly scratched legs
Windsor spindles irritating
sore lumbar muscles
I hunch over thinly lined paper
fingers cramped around the
favored rollerball pen
wishing I were suspended
glowing against
country-black sky
preparing to pour
down, down
into great bear’s
soft dense underfur
ride smoothly
through night’s remaining hours
disappear toward dawn

—Julie Laing

6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2012 10:19 am

    Just love this, Julie…especially how you took the prompt into an astronomical realm. Made me think “Why didn’t I think of that?!” I’m so grateful for your critique on my submission, as well. I miss FEPC and am subscribing to your site in the hopes we can continue on a mini-basis although I confess I don’t feel adequate in critiquing. I will comment on my post in response to yours.


    • August 28, 2012 10:23 am

      I think one of the things I’m enjoying most about challenging myself to work with prompts is that I then go and read other writers’ spin and have the same thought–it generates so many ideas! I’m glad to hear your response to the painting you chose was so immediate–I think that kind of reaction was what Claudia was looking for. The bulk of my poetry has always been as-the-spirit-moves-me, I-have-to-get-it-off-my-chest stuff, so I’m still working on that immediate response to a prompt. I had to think for a while to come up with something–and usually do, which is often why I’m one of the last to post!
      I too miss FEPC–particularly because I haven’t been actively rewriting lately and sort of thought it would always be there to come back to when I was. But how cool would it be to see the critiques continue blog by blog? And I wouldn’t worry about feeling unsure about your feedback–the better a poem is, the harder it is for me to find the little things that would make it sing. But that’s what we’re all after isn’t it? And I think the only way we do that–for our work as well as that of others–is to just keep throwing the ideas out there. So please critique away–for the sake of your poems as well as mine.


  2. August 27, 2012 4:34 am

    ha really cool…i like your use of the constellations in this….from the dipper to the bear…to your pen rolling it out and then disappearing like the stars in the dawn…smiles.


  3. August 26, 2012 9:51 pm

    nice…loved the whole piece..the details like the windsor spindles and the grabbing the pen so tight…but esp. loved the closure…so soft…it’s so cool when it flows like this…love the great bear’s soft dense underfur…


  4. August 26, 2012 9:44 pm

    i love the relationship between the constellations here!!

    slowly it had to last


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