Sunday, December 13, 2015

rick mobbs' image prompt (4)

This is a painting by Rick Mobbs. Way back in 2008, Rick offered on his blog a weekly image prompt for us wannabe writers to ponder over it. He calls it The Storybook Collaborative. Those images are paintings that he has done, and out of the project are some interesting and excellent poems.

Back to the painting below. What does it tells you? A war machine! Look at all those guns firing, that clenched fist! Of course it could be about the military industrial complex, but war is easier to write.

Painting by Rick Mobbs
painting by Rick Mobbs


and since the first
smash of a neolithic
blood still runs red
and bones pile on
on forgotten
rust bleeds
spear tips in museums
this arrowhead
could have pierced
a skull
at Hastings

what have been
from the
blood letting?
the mounting
body count
and more
ingenious ways
of maiming and

and so
metal tanks
in barbed wire
at Flanders
    armoured choppers
       spitting metal
    rain from
whirling blades
    over roof tops
vapour trail
of a

on a



written 11/11/2008
revised 01/06/2009

"My brother's dreams once here did soar
Until he died at the hand of needless war."

Uriah Heep, The Park.

If you want to read my other poems that were inspired by Mr. Mobbs's paintings, click on the links below :

image prompt (1) : on Icarus' wings
image prompt (2) : the lights of my heart
image prompt (3) : i see a raven in the sky

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Blogger Sanaa Rizvi said...

what have been
from the
blood letting?

Sigh.. indeed nothing is gained from bloodshed and we certainly haven't become wiser... its a cruel and vicious cycle.

13 December, 2015 21:52  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

indeed no, and the politics is getting more complicated. :(

thank you, Sanaa.

13 December, 2015 22:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So much energy and money into building killing machines.. It's a pity we can't devote the same to peace. Nicely done.

13 December, 2015 22:43  
Blogger Sumana Roy said...

war mongers gain supremacy & money, it is a flourishing business for a belligerent nation..sigh...

13 December, 2015 22:48  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


arms are big business, i guess. :(


so right there. plus, there are some other agendas.

13 December, 2015 23:11  
Anonymous Donna@LivingFromHappiness said...

Your poem says it is genius and that we should all read again and again when we think we should raise arms again...

what have been
from the
blood letting?

13 December, 2015 23:42  
Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

Yes, the body count since that first weapon is increasing exponentially. Violence begets more violence, as we all dream of peace. Your poem is very powerful.

14 December, 2015 02:08  
Blogger Mary said...

We definitely, as 'humanity,' do not seem to have learned anything over the centuries. Humans have devised so many instruments of cruelty...their ingenuity amazes me. If only this ingenuity would be used in a positive way!

14 December, 2015 02:56  
Blogger brudberg said...

We have not learned a thing.. it was 20 years since the peace treaty for Bosnia, and i listened to the horror of that war.. and it seems we are finding new reasons to kill and maim again....

14 December, 2015 03:47  
Blogger Matthew Henningsen said...

I love that line about an arrow at Hastings... very nice!

14 December, 2015 10:12  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thank you, for the "genius and truth"! i do not expect all wars to cease, that just is unlikely to happen. just a hope that there will be much less, that the world be more humane, rational & peace-loving.


"violence begets more violence", that seems to be the trend now. :(


yes, if only this ingenuity can be used in a positive way. like how to live well with each other.


Bosnia. that is an unnecessary and brutal war. all for nothing over ethnic lines.


thank you for the visit!
i believe you know whose skull was hit?
coincidentally, you wrote about that in your "J. Humbert Riddle's Birthday Ode, Part II". :)

14 December, 2015 20:39  
Blogger Jae Rose said...

War indeed is easy to write - maybe because it is a constant in an uncertain world - be it global war, national or personal..there is something sad in that perhaps but the picture is one of strength..perhaps we need to fight...for what is..for what could be better..maybe that is why it is so important to our collective consciousness

14 December, 2015 21:43  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Jae, i like what you said about war being a constant in an uncertain world. wars are fought over almost anything. food, territory, ideology, religion, political beliefs, even a football game.
your view of the picture as one of strength is a new perspective. perhaps as a collective, we need to defend what we thought as right, as a clan, a tribe, a nation. (and this right could also be a wrong). perhaps it is all hardwired in the human psyche.
i appreciate this insightful comment. :)

14 December, 2015 23:20  
Blogger Wendy Bourke said...

A powerful, intense piece - "armoured choppers spitting metal rain": an indelible line of poetry.

15 December, 2015 08:22  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Wendy. :)

15 December, 2015 20:03  
Blogger A Cuban In London said...

I love the way the poem flows through. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

23 December, 2015 06:25  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

nice to see you, Cuban. thanks!
and happy holidays! :)

23 December, 2015 21:26  
Blogger Ostensible Truth said...

oh we've learnt little since that first strike except how to hone our destruction, of which we're quite the experts these days. I like how you've structured it too, the format almost mimics a spear, sharpening to the close.

27 December, 2015 04:42  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Hi O T, thanks for visiting!
oh yes, we've learnt little since. glad that you liked the format too. yeah it does look like a spear, now that you mentioned it. originally i added lots of random line breaks, to signify chaos, but i cleaned it up. :)

27 December, 2015 23:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, dsnake1, that is a powerful piece of writing. I have been away a long time. It is good to get back and read your work again.

I don't believe I ever said where that painting came from. It started as a male nude from a figure painting session. I didn't like the way it turned out and considered it a failed painting. Then I got a call from a friend who was putting together a show of "Male Nudes". (As opposed to the usual showing of female nudes.)

I decided to flip the canvas upside down and build a war machine. The penis was more or less centered on the canvas and that (naturally) became one of the cannons. It makes a better "Stupid War" painting than it did as a nude.

21 January, 2016 10:14  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Rick, it's really a very pleasant surprise to hear from you again! how have you been? i hope you and your lovely family are doing fine. :)

no, i don't think i heard you mentioned about the story of this painting. male nude indeed! your artwork has a cubist feel to it. the first time i saw it, i thought it was a painting about war, with all those bold strokes, and i know i have to write something about it. the poem was in storage for a while until i posted it recently.

21 January, 2016 23:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look forward to coming back again and again.

22 January, 2016 14:33  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you! i will be looking forward to your visits. :)

22 January, 2016 22:50  

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