Image-ine Poetry: “Jumprope, Pink Room” by Lisa Hess Hesselgrave

Writing poetry from art ignites creativity and helps you become a better writer. Join Maureen Doallas in this Image-ine exercise based on “Jumprope, Pink Room,” a painting by Lisa Hess Hesselgrave.


Learning to Jump Rope

A whale will not sing for your rescue.
A porpoise will not swim by your side.
You are where you don’t belong.
You must not be alone.
Your wrists will begin to ache
at a quarter to three,
your mouth be dry as the sawdust
that fills the guts of your Babydoll.
You must know you are not
in hot water,
though at eight your mother
will draw your bath and rub aloe
into your pinked skin and promise
to put away that jumprope
for another day.
Kids can be so mean.


Write a poem of your own based on Lisa’s image “Jumprope, Pink Room,” 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.

This is the third in a series of Image-ine Poetry posts based on Lisa Hess Hesselgrave‘s paintings.


See the first Image-ine Poetry post in this series.

See the second Image-ine Poetry post in this series.

See the third Image-ine Poetry post in this series.

See the fourth Image-ine Poetry post in this series.

Explore other Image-ine Poetry exercises.

Painting: “Jumprope, Pink Room” (oil on canvas) by Lisa Hess Hesselgrave. Used with permission. Poem by Maureen Doallas, author of Neruda’s Memoirs: Poems.


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  1. says


    There was a time when words
    Were stuck
    No direct route from heart to pen
    All the words were already
    Spoken for
    Trapped inside
    You can hold a monopoly on words
    If you wield enough power
    Over your young
    But one day the finger moves away from the
    In the dam
    Breaks free
    And you are heard
    Your wild and wooly screams
    From your room
    The colors of
    Newly released from the womb
    Awash in new birth
    Like the wail of a seconds old
    Slippery wet one
    Welcome to the world
    We are listening
    You are heard
    Speak now, your peace
    For Pete’s sake
    Child, we are listening
    To you now
    Freed from your trappings of
    The party has begun
    Happy Birthday to you
    You may come out of your
    But please
    Use your inside voice with us.

    • says

      Elizabeth, I love your poems and style. The passage of time in this one works wonderfully. You capture that childhood dilemma of knowing when or if to speak. Your perceptions remind me so much of Sharon Olds.

    • says

      What a journey this is!

      These words struck me and stayed with me, all the way to the inside voice…
      “All the words were already
      Spoken for”

  2. says

    Your poem makes an unexpected turn at “The colors….” Nice setup to the remainder of the poem. I like “Your wild and wooly screams” (quite a contrast in imagery created by using wooly and screams together) and your use of “For Pete’s sake” and “Use your inside voice with us” (how many parents I can remember saying that!), which also contrasts nicely with your poem’s noisy beginnings.

    • says

      Maureen thank you for taking the time to give feedback and impressions. Grateful.

      Richard, wow what a generous comparison. Surely unmerited. I researched the poet a little. Wow again. I believe she may be an atheist. I am a Christian. I hope my faith will shine through more one day in my poems.

      Donna, It is so very helpful to hear what resonates. What phrases give pause. I am exceedingly appreciative for the comments from the three of you.



  3. says


    A child is a mystery,
    like the light of stars—

    the dream
    we try to capture, even as it seems

    to pass like the quickening scent
    of Spring blows by.

    Strange flower budding in the dark,
    sweet and bitter tear,

    learning to hide, stem of wishes
    waiting to come true.

    We cannot save you
    from this gravity,

    from such wonder, laced with pain—child,
    fire of promise, burning in the rain.

  4. Marcy Terwilliger says

    Maureen, you are my dark horse, beauty yet you come on strong like one that needs to still be tamed. Elizabeth, you are soft, your words could hold a child and keep it safe. Richard, wisdom & understanding with a touch of softness sprinkled on the top. I love this mix of poet’s and your words. When I saw the piece of Art, this coming from an art student, designer, painter and poetry want-a-be, I was thrilled with the color “Pink.” So I wrote “Pink” 1/13 The simple wonders of pink, how they take our breath away…A soft baby pink blanket, cool pink sheets on the clothes line on a sunny day…a pot of Gerber Daisies or a rosebud about to open, a linen dress in light pink with shoes to match…Flower girls throwing pink petals on green grass…Your favorite shade of pink lipstick that still leaves smudges on men’s white collars…that cancer pen you wear each October…Easter eggs in pink with bunny ears too…That pink rose sky at the end of the day…a little kittens tongue…the pink balloon you gave now sailing to the moon…little girls room dressed up in high gloss pink, along with a net tutu that sparkles with her dancing shoes…The simple wonders of the color pink, I think I covered most don’t you think?

    • says

      Marcy, thank you.

      And all that pink is its own inspiration. This remix of some of your own words is for you:

      Pink Beauty

      for Marcy

      Pink is cool, my favorite
      shade of Gerber daisies
      edging sheets of grass
      soft as a baby’s blanket.

      On a sunny day, I dress
      in linen and high gloss,
      pink to match the pink
      to take men’s breath away.

      Mother worries I’m a rose
      bud too young to open.
      She doesn’t know I leave
      pink smudges on poets’

      white collars. I don’t explain
      I go sailing to the moon
      every time I toy with pink
      wonders. With the right touch

      I can net a night of dancing
      in a pair of sparkly shoes,
      or stay in my room and let
      the color pink rise to my

      cheeks. I mark a dark day
      with a pink pen, dream
      of throwing eggs into a pot
      to have Easter in October.

      A painter want-to-be, once
      thinking to come on strong,
      dressed up in pink bunny ears
      but then whined like a kitten

      when I deflated his balloon.
      I wasn’t thrilled to see it
      tangled in the clothes
      line. Besides, it wasn’t pink.

  5. says

    Maureen Doallas in this Image-ine exercise based on “Jumprope, Pink Room,” a painting by Lisa Hess Hesselgrave.

    Jumprope was Made for Jumpin’
    Pink the color of my heart
    The inside of my mouth
    The color of my love
    The two of us
    Alone on that dusty
    Summer afternoon
    Grew tired of the
    Dollhouse in pink
    Read the news
    Put down our dolls
    We coiled a rope
    In the form of a snake
    We tied a knot
    We bundled games
    We burned the ends
    Could do anything
    We liked
    We learned the chant
    We learned to jump

  6. says


    Nice alliteration and cadence. I like that image of the rope coiled like the snake (I can imagine your poem arranged like a coil), ready to strike. I especially like your play on meaning; there’s more going on in this poem than a first read might reveal.


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