love’s serenade

sighs of the cello
echo passion’s ebb and flow
in love’s serenade

P. Wanken

I generally do not write “process notes”, but do enjoy reading them on others’ blogs. Since this post is so different from others, I thought I’d include some notes about the process.

This picture (by German surrealist Michael Maier) was furnished as a prompt by Writer’s Island. We were not given the title of the artwork — just told to use it as our prompt. To write whatever came. I haven’t done this before — written in response to an image. At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. I didn’t have any words to build on. Yet, the longer I looked at the picture, various thoughts and words came to mind.

Sultry. The woman seems quite seductive/sultry in her nearly sheer dress, with back bared. I believe she also has a tattoo on her backside, barely visible through her dress. It’s a Treble Clef. She clearly adores music or the one who plays (or used to play) it for her.

The cello (though being played only by a butterfly) seems to be serenading the woman.  Perhaps she is dreaming of the one who played for her,  now gone? Or perhaps she’s now gone and awaits her love?

I love the cello’s deep, rich tones. They rise and fall…which, for this picture (for me), is represented by the presence of the water. That lulling “shoosh” as the waves come in and recede.

And I guess all of that is wrapped up in the word “passion” for me…the depth of feeling expressed in music…in love’s serenade — which is what I named this post (not the haiku, because haiku usually do not have titles).  🙂


  1. i liked the poem, though I’m not a big haiku fan, much more after reading the process notes, which I found very intriguing. Funny how our minds work. Seems like that picture was a great prompt for you. I, too, have shied away from and perhaps misunderstood the value of picture prompts. Perhaps I’ll give them another try after reading through your interesting thought process. Thanks for sharing both.


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Gordon. There’s another prompt site out there that does just picture prompts, I’ve seen it on others’ blogs. But I’ve always avoided them. After this experience, I might look for that site and try more picture prompts. I’ll look for one to show up one day on your blog, too! 🙂



  2. Hi Paula,
    I love a haiku as it puts discipline in creating it. The process notes are the icing that tell us of your journey arriving towards it. Very well done!



  3. Your haiku and, more so, the process notes, sparked memories for me, and I wondered if the picture could be of the ghost of Jacqueline du Pré, whose carreer as a ‘cellist was cut tragically short by Multiple Sclerosis.
    The second memory was of the first time I wrote a poem inspired by a painting. A competition run by Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery,was to write a poem inspired by one of a selection of the gallery’s paintings. I chose the painting Martyr of Solway by by pre-Raphaelite Millais, which was x-rayed. The picture, of Margaret Wilson, condemned to death by drowning in 1685 for failing to recognise the established Church of Scotland, had originally showed her naked, bound to the rock where she died, but the painting as seen today shows her fully dressed.


    1. Fascinating, Viv! It will be interesting to get additional info next week (at Writer’s Island) on this painting (though, I suppose with the internet, we could research it now, huh!?).


  4. I do like picture prompts but I didn’t like this particular picture.

    I think you’ve written a wonderful haiku from the prompt. Your process notes were fascinating; I’m impressed you got so much out of it.

    I think, when a picture is packed full like this, less is more as far as the writing is concerned; yours was definitely more for being less 🙂


    1. I think when I initially looked at the picture I didn’t really like it either and didn’t want to write about it. But then after looking at the individual elements of the picture was able to isolate the parts I wanted to write about. And then, with all of those parts, I had to decide WHAT to write. I leaned toward haiku partly because my attention span was waning! LOL. But also because I felt like a painting leaves a lot to interpretation–so the poem needed to match. Then I wrote the process notes to explain myself anyway–which I wasn’t sure I should include if I was trying to leave it open for the readers’ interpretations. LOL.

      It surely was a different writing process for me!!


  5. Solid work, PW. I’m not much for the picture prompts; would never have gotten much beyond the wings & antennae.
    Your work, though: shapely as its subject.


    1. Thanks, Ron…wasn’t sure I was going to even write about the picture because at first glance, I rolled my eyes at the antennae! Thanks for the feedback! 🙂 ~Paula


  6. Paula, your haiku was fine, a nice read on the prompt, but I found more poetry in the process notes. Your observations, feelings, relationships with music and water, were a poem in itself. Something deep inside is still waiting to get out. I can’t wait to see what happens then.


  7. I enjoyed your haiku and the description of the process in writing it as well. always love to find out how others go abt the process. hope you are having a great weekend.


    1. Thanks, Isabel! I also like finding out how others go through the process…I just don’t usually write mine out. Just felt like this one needed it. ~Paula


  8. I came here from your post of ladynimue.
    As I said there, I am an artist, but am not new to writing.
    Writing in beautiful word images escapes my pen and paper…
    thank you for your process notes…
    they are very interesting getting to know your thinking pattern
    in the development of your haiku


    1. Siggiofmaine:
      Thanks for your visit…and for your comments. It’s interesting to hear from someone on the artist side of this process!


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