Day 4. My annual National Poetry Month 2023 ekphrastic challenge is a collaboration between artists Aaron Bowker, Beth Brooke, Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad, Sara Fatima Mir, and writers, Tim Fellows, Jamie Woods, Merril D. Smith, Anjum Wasim Dar, Jane Dougherty, Robert Frede Kenter, Paul Dyson, Frank Colley, Lynne Jensen Lampe and myself. April 4th.




Mariammachi’s Fish (OVP4)


Robert  Frede Kenter

Water lilies (all images)

Water washes through this world,
carries its cargo of fish-flowers
through all times, all spaces,

water world that mirrors the sky,
and how it blossoms with stars
risen from the deep ocean’s floor.

Jane Dougherty

31MAL (BB4)

I press down my folds and my origami creases
of pale sick paper skin
smooth the edges to hide tears
and rips that only I will see.
For forty years I’ve stared at the glass
but now I realise everything is backwards
and why photographs freakishly
slip into an uncanny valley of self-loathing.
How can I know who I’m trying to be
when I only recognise myself in reverse?

Jamie Woods


Silver Wings 

Inspired by OVP4

Above, the cerulean shifts
to violet and indigo,

below, limpid blue
becomes green-black,

in the rippling expanse between
a swimming rainbow
with silver wings

becomes a glimmering—
girl, or thing–

where enigmatic stars
and murky undertow meet

here, this vision,
forgotten dreams.

Merril D Smith


An installation of paper doves
float in this empty church.
Suspended above our heads
between heaven and earth.

Reflected in the symmetry of holy water
in a black sea of death
cradled with blood-red poppies
a composition of grief.

Death is an allegory for peace
and loss a catalyst to forgiveness.
The unknown soldier deaf
to the blind politics of war.

There is nothing sweet or patriotic here
just a deafening silence of loss.
Bow your heads in prayer
and Nimrod will cleanse our souls.

Paul Dyson

Pigments of My Imagination (OVP4)

At my grandmother’s house hangs
a painting of three fish in a stream,
mud settled so the water is clear. Fat
strokes of cyan, vermilion, ochre,

umber, white, black, iron oxide.
I don’t want to eat these fish—I want
to wear them, steal their colors.
sink into a bath filled with the hours

of a Seattle summer sky, dawn to dusk.
When I was ten I sat in shallows
at the edge of Lake Winnebago and
smeared my skin with silt, fingerpainting

my forearms. Years later I drove
through Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado
where people pay someone else
to scrape away dead cells with sand.

Exfoliate, not to be confused with defoliate.
Or deflower, to both deprive of virginity
and take away the prime beauty—hey,
even Webster lets us read between the lines.

Lynne Jensen Lampe

Three little fishes 


Three little fishes swam over the dam
in to the swim of the fisherman.
First little fishy took the bate
the other two darted back in fright.
Caught on a hook and taken in hand
thrown back in, he thought it grand.
Two little fishes coward and hid
amazed at what the other fish did.
Then he swam back bold as brass
thinking himself a different class.
Put in his place by mob rule
made to look a complete fool.
Three little fishes just like people
borne the same and always equal

Frank Colley



Fish in triplicate,
silver slippy, wet black eyes
make them seem alive.


Footsteps echo in the vast hall;
bouncing off arches of pitted stone,
past rafters of ancient seasoned wood
reflecting from the roof,
back to the shining floor.
There is no escape from here,
trapped in your child’s thoughts,
your vision of a just God.

Haiku is inspired by the artwork of Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad. Poem inspired by the Beth Brooke photograph.

Tim Fellows

Bios and Links

Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

is an Indian-Australian painter, poet, and improv pianist. She is a self-taught artist who has been painting and exhibiting for over 20 years. Her work has been featured in several journals including Amsterdam Quarterly yearbook, Pithead Chapel, Two Thirds North, Kissing Dynamite Poetry,  and Stonecoast Review. She has been nominated multiple times for the Best of the Net. She lives and works in Sydney on the traditional lands of The Eora Nation.  Find her @oormilaprahlad and

Sara Fatima Mir

Born on the 26th of July, 2007, in Islamabad , Sara Fatima is a Pakistani of Kashmiri origin. Gifted by nature with an inborn aesthetic sense, she is passionate about art. It is not just a hobby for her, rather it is a well settled heart and soul, way of life which inspires her to visualize the fine beauty and form in the world around. She has won numerous art competitions at school level. She is a natural artist and has completed the following two Courses : a) Graphic Designing -2020 b) Resin Art Skills -2022 from the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Finishing School, Islamabad Capital Territory Pakistan. This learning has further enhanced her artistic skills . International Participation in Art and Poetry Project: Rucksack A Global Poetry Patchwork 2022 A Poetry Project by Ms Antje Stehn of Italy and Mamta Sagar of India. Sara made a Teapot with the help of dried teabags. A requirement .Its image is on display at the Poetry Museum Italy. Sara Fatima Mir believes Art connects people by portraying their lives. Different people, different drawings, different stories. Using all sorts of mediums, she flaunts her amateur talent and aspires to learn more to become the best version of herself. Please Follow her on Instagram @sketchfilez

Beth Brooke

is a Dorset-based poet and her writing is grounded in the Wessex landscape and history. Her debut pamphlet, A Landscape With Birds was published by Hedgehog Poetry in July 2022. Her second pamphlet, Transformations, will be published by Hedgehog next year. The poems are all inspired by the work of Dame Elisabeth Frink, the sculptor and artist.

Aaron Bowker

based in the United States is a super self-critical Virgo, walking a path between worlds while dabbling in art, photography, and poetry. Poems have been featured in Failed Haiku, Cold Moon Journal, The Wombwell Rainbow, and Heterodox Haiku Journal, with art featured in The Hooghly Review, The Wombwell Rainbow, and Black & White Haifa/Haisha. Special thank you to Jerome Berglund for being my mentor and pushing me to limits otherwise unexplored.

Robert Frede Kenter

is a writer, pushcart nominee & visual artist with work in many venues, on line and in print, incl: Storms Journal, Anthropocene, Fevers Of, Acropolis Journal, CutbowQuarterly, Anti-heroin chic and many others, as well as books including EDEN (2021) a visual poetry collection, and Audacity of Form (ice floe press, 2019). Work in anthologies: Book of Penteract (Penteract Press, 2022), and Seeing in Tongues, an anthology forthcoming from Steel Incisors (2023). Robert is publisher & EIC of Ice Floe Press,

Jamie Woods

Swansea-based Jamie Woods is poet-in-residence at the charity Leukaemia Care. His work has been published in Poetry Wales, Lucent Dreaming, Ink Sweat & Tears and more. Jamie’s debut pamphlet Rebel Blood Cells is out in June, and can be pre-ordered from

Jane Dougherty

lives and works in southwest France. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems and stories have been published in magazines and journals including Ogham Stone, the Ekphrastic Review, Black Bough Poetry, ink sweat and tears, Gleam, Nightingale & Sparrow, Green Ink and Brilliant Flash Fiction. She blogs at Her poetry chapbooks, thicker than water and birds and other feathers were published in October and November 2020.

Paul Dyson

is from Swinton, Rotherham, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
He says –

“We all have an urge to be creative
whether it’s art, poetry, music . . .
or just putting together flat pack furniture,
being creative keeps us alive and feeling human”

Paul gave up his day job 5 years ago to dabble in art, poetry and music, and hopes the passion in his Art reaches and touches the hearts of fellow humans too.

Merril D. Smith

lives in southern New Jersey near the Delaware River. Her poetry has been published in journals including Black Bough Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic, Acropolis, and Humana Obscura, and anthologies, such as the recent Our Own Coordinates: Poems about Dementia (Sidhe Press). Her full-length poetry collection, River Ghosts, was published by Nightingale & Sparrow Press, and was a Black Bough Poetry Book of the Month.

Twitter: @merril_mds  Instagram: mdsmithnj  Blog:

Tim Fellows

is a writer from Chesterfield in Derbyshire whose ideas are heavily influenced by his background in the local coalfields, where industry and nature lived side by side. His first pamphlet “Heritage” was published in 2019. His poetic influences range from Blake to Owen, Causley to Cooper-Clarke and more recently the idea of imagistic poetry and the work of Spanish poet Miguel Hernandez.

Lynne Jensen Lampe’s

debut collection, Talk Smack to a Hurricane (Ice Floe Press, 2022) concerns mother-daughter relationships, mental illness, and antisemitism. Her poems appear in many journals, including THRUSH, Figure 1, and Yemassee. A finalist for the 2020 Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize, she edits academic research in mid-Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two dogs. Visit her at; on Twitter/Spoutible @LJensenLampe; or Instagram @lynnejensenlampe.

Gaynor Kane

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