Art, Image-ine, poetry

Image-ine: Warrior Canoe by Holly Friesen


Warrior Canoe Holly Friesen

A Ladder Our Boat

When we make a tree a ladder, we climb
out of the flaming fire, through our fear.
We are each from earth’s guts spilled,
Persephone rising, wild mint lacing
loose braids, sheaves of grain in hand,
spring’s re-welcoming cheered.

When we make the ladder our boat, we sail on
a kiss of wind above the Hades of our making,
spirits water-rocked in Zeus’s arms, seeds
of the pomegranate bursting, our offspring

We strike our fevered blessings on the wood,
water-tight, wave at the moon we circle twice:
the light, our safe harbor, shore.


Write a poem of your own, based on Holly’s image or choose a line from Maureen’s poem as a starting place. Post on your blog and link to us (we love that), or just drop your poems here in the comment box.

Painting: “Warrior Canoe”, 30″ x 60″, by Holly Friesen. Used with permission. See more of Holly Friesen’s work in her online gallery. Poem by Maureen Doallas, author of Neruda’s Memoirs: Poems.


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Your Comments

8 Comments so far

  1. L.L. Barkat says:

    I love this…

    “When we make a tree a ladder, we climb
    out of the flaming fire”

    It’s counterintuitive.

    The artwork is stunning. (Love the poem and the art together )

    • I was so pleased Holly allowed us to use the image of her gorgeous painting, which has been sold. From the time I saw images of it in progress, I knew I’d have to write about it.

  2. Donna says:

    Maureen this is wonderful! I love it, and I wrote one too… I couldn’t get “Persephone Rising” out of my head…. I went to the web and refreshed my memory of her story. Rising Rising…. until the Fall.
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    Persephone Rises

  3. Thank you, Maureen, for leading me to tweekspeak, and to Holly…a gorgeous painting! My poem: To Cast

  4. I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet users, its really
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  1. Creative Remix – Word in Sound and Image | Creative Thresholds - July 24, 2014

    […] Among the selections is my poem “A Ladder, Our Boat”. The poem first appeared in the Image-ine series at TweetSpeak Poetry; Image-ine, to which I’ve contributed numerous ekphrastic poems (including a series inspired […]

  2. The Best in Poetry: Top Ten Poetic Picks | - July 31, 2014

    […] And finally, our friends at the Poetry Storehouse recently featured a new video remix by Marc Neys (aka Swoon) of “A Ladder Our Boat,” a poem Maureen Doallas wrote for an Image-ine pairing with Holly Friesen’s painting “Warrior Canoe.” […]

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