Day Three. Special January Ekphrastic Challenge Jan 7th to February 6th. Please join writers Merril D Smith, Jim The Poet, Holly York, Michael Dickel, Joy Fleming, Hilary Otto, Godefroy Dronsart, Redcat, and myself as we respond to the remarkable art of Chris O’Connor, Marcel Herms and Kerfe Roig and others to arrive in the coming weeks. Saturday.

Jan 9th

Don't look back, mixed media on paper, 22,7 x 30,5 cm, 2020 MH9

Don’t Look Back

-Marcel Herms



-Kerfe Roig


-Christine O’Connor

Dactyloscopy (KR9)

You read my palm
like it’s a constellation
love and life lines forming
hunters and prey.
I am transparent against the stars
they see right through me
to them I can’t lie
about the void at my centre.

Thaw (CO9)

It was winter. There was a path
with mountains cut against the sky.
Snow snaked down the slope,
water gleamed between the reeds.
I remember a donkey, a low Inca sun.
But something happened there
part of the scene is missing.
When are you coming back?

The centre cannot hold (MH9)

After WB Yeats
as you spin, parts of you
fly off, splash dark on the snow
we hear a roar through
the storm as your vortex approaches
smashing everything that lies
in its path, gaining on us fast
as we stand, fixed on the sight
even while we know it is our last

-Hilary Otto


Collage II

Mountains, a lake, low hanging sun,
light-splashed road not taken.
He stands near the water’s edge,
exhales crystal breath.
I stand back, gazing upward,
my back to the fire, wondering.
Shall I cross the path through snowy beach
to join him, to find where diagonal axis
of warmth resolves in pale sky?

-Holly York

Fog of War (responding to all)

Wandering the fog of war
Night’s pitch, no moon or guiding star
Reality faint outlines in another dimension
Stumbling around, life in suspension

Got turned around in the trenches
Flashbacks the walls wrenches
The ground, mud mixed with blood
Torrential grief, fields flood

Dove down a foxhole
As dark demons walked their patrol
Wax in ears, not to hear the sound
Of sweet talking hellhounds

Dug a fortified position
Where to craft mental munitions
In the battle of mind
Never look back at what’s stalking behind


Responding to all of today’s artwork. January 9, Day 3


After the bang that breaks the silence
of nonexistence, of before all-time–
a closed fist opens, letting out light
in a rush of song; sailing sirens, the stars
attract, beckoning us and what was becomes ever-after,

never looking back,

we seek the end of darkness, beyond horizons
and the silvered-humming of the moon—
finding patterns in vast arrays, finding ourselves there—
made of stars, caught by time–and

-Merril D. Smith

Based on Arrayed (KR 9)


Through the delicate hole in the hand held
open you see absolute sky, partial
and traversed by the patter of paint.

Size falters, who else will be there
for the transaction of the brush,
the wheat-web, and the common
work of stone care ?

-Godefroy Dronsart

Don’t Look Back – MC9

I can see you looking at me.
You don’t need eyes in order to see.
Your conscience will get you later tonight.
If you manage to sleep you’ll wake with a fright.

Face up to facts as you face up to life,
you know it’s not easy when you chance upon strife.
Fight off those flames that burn you inside,
No one with feelings gets an easy ride.

I know what you’ll do; with a face so sad.
You’ll bury it in your soul and that’s really bad.
Fighting forever to keep it compressed.
You’d best see the kwak. You’re totally depressed.

10,Ja,2021 for the nineth of.
-Alan Gary Smith, inspired by Paul Brookes and the painter Marcel Herms.


snow on the mountain
striding across the hard fields
winter sunshine

-Jim The Poet


reading your palm
drifting across the universe
of possibilities

-Jim The Poet


oh do forgive me
for i see trump imploding
at the midnight hour

-Jim The Poet

Unless I

want to be salt,
lose my loved ones
I will not look back
at the mountains,
the up and down sun.
the other path.

I will place my palm
on this ever diminished mountain,
pebble, soil, atomised history,
and climb.

-Paul Brookes

Bios And Links

-Kerfe Roig

A resident of New York City, Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new.  Her poetry and art have been featured online by Right Hand Pointing, Silver Birch Press, Yellow Chair Review, The song is…, Pure Haiku, Visual Verse, The Light Ekphrastic, Scribe Base, The Zen Space, and The Wild Word, and published in Ella@100, Incandescent Mind, Pea River Journal, Fiction International: Fool, Noctua Review, The Raw Art Review, and several Nature Inspired anthologies. Follow her explorations on her blogs,  (which she does with her friend Nina), and, and see more of her work on her website

Christine O’Connor

is an artist working in glass, metal, fibre and paint. Sometimes her work is based on photographs, but more often, she creates in the moment. She loves to play with texture and colour.

-Marcel Herms

is a Dutch visual artist. He is also one of the two men behind the publishing house Petrichor. Freedom is very important in the visual work of Marcel Herms. In his paintings he can express who he really is in complete freedom. Without the social barriers of everyday life.
There is a strong relationship with music. Like music, Herms’ art is about autonomy, freedom, passion, color and rhythm. You can hear the rhythm of the colors, the rhythm of the brushstrokes, the raging cry of the pencil, the subtle melody of a collage. The figures in his paintings rotate around you in shock, they are heavily abstracted, making it unclear what they are doing. Sometimes they look like people, monsters, children or animals, or something in between. Sometimes they disappear to be replaced immediately or to take on a different guise. The paintings invite the viewer to join this journey. Free-spirited.

He collaborates with many different authors, poets, visual artists and audio artists from around the world and his work is published by many different publishers.


RedCat’s love for music and dance sings clearly in The Poet’s Symphony (Raw Earth Ink, 2020). Passion for rhythms and rhymes, syllabic feets and metres. All born out of childhood and adolescence spent reading, singing, dancing and acting.

Her writing spans love, life, mythology, environment, depression and surviving trauma.

Originally from the deep woods, this fiery redhead now makes home in Stockholm, Sweden, where you might normally run into her dancing the night away in one of the city’s techno clubs.


-Merril D Smith

is a historian and poet. She lives in southern New Jersey, where she is inspired by her walks along the Delaware River. She’s the author of several books on history, gender, and sexuality. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies, including Black Bough Poetry, Nightingale and Sparrow, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Fevers of the Mind.

-Holly York

lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her two large, frightening lapdogs. A PhD in French language and literature, she has retired from teaching French to university students, as well as from fierce competition in martial arts and distance running. She has produced the chapbooks Backwards Through the Rekroy Wen, Scapes, and Postcard Poetry 2020. When she isn’t hard at work writing poems in English, she might be found reading them in French to her long-suffering grandchildren, who don’t yet speak French.

-Godefroy Dronsart

is a writer, teacher, and musician currently residing near Paris. His poetry has appeared in Lunar Poetry, PostBLANK, Paris Lit Up, The Belleville Park Pages, and Twin Pies Literary among others. His first chapbook, “The Manual” (Sweat Drenched Press, 2020), explores the space between poetry, prose, and gamebooks. He has a sweet tooth for all things experimental, modernist, and strange. Follow him on Twitter and his Bandcamp for electronic explorations.

-Joy Fleming

Born in County Down, Joy has studied, mothered and worked in Scotland since 1980. Brief excursions to follow her heart, back to NI mid-1990’s and England for first round Covid-lockdown ’19, Joy is currently back living in Glasgow. Joy’s first poem was accepted as part of the C. S. Lewis themed Poetry Jukebox curation A Deeper Country in Belfast in 2019. This poem, Ricochet was published in The Poets’ Republic Issue 8 Autumn 2020. A love of reading poetry is now accompanied by sporadic writing of poetic lines which spill out as an apparent by-product of processing dark and sorrowful days.   

-Hilary Otto

is an English poet based in Barcelona. Her work has featured in Popshot, Black Bough Poetry, AIOTB, Ink, Sweat and Tears, and The Blue Nib, among other publications. She received her first Pushcart Prize Nomination and performed at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival. She tweets at @hilaryotto

-Jim young

 is an old poet living in Mumbles on The Gower. He does most of his writing from his beach hut at Rotherslade – still waiting for the blue plaque

2 thoughts on “Day Three. Special January Ekphrastic Challenge Jan 7th to February 6th. Please join writers Merril D Smith, Jim The Poet, Holly York, Michael Dickel, Joy Fleming, Hilary Otto, Godefroy Dronsart, Redcat, and myself as we respond to the remarkable art of Chris O’Connor, Marcel Herms and Kerfe Roig and others to arrive in the coming weeks. Saturday.

  1. Pingback: Fog of War – January Ekphrastic Challenge, January 9 – The world according to RedCat

  2. Pingback: Day 3: January Ekphrastic Challenge – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.