Art is about nothing if not context.
Shown here, the artist,
perched on the edge
of the keeper’s wheelbarrow,
ponders his canvas.
On either side of the animal’s den,
and the rhino, ears perked,
regarding the famous painting
like a tourist.
The real and the human-made—
the artwork somehow affixed
to the cave wall,
the cave itself, not a natural
formation of wind and weather,
but composed carefully
of concrete, easy to clean
and care for,
nothing of the veldt.
Whose eye is this
that makes the artist
part of his own composition,
stationed among hollow blocks
meant to resemble boulders,
a further comment
on the juxtaposition
of life and art?
—From Crossing Borders: Ekphrastic Poems and Collaborations, Robbi
Nester’s full-length collection of 34 ekphrastic writings, with an introduction
by the author and 29 artworks by numerous visual artists; this book is available
—Poem published previously in Ekphrastic California (20 November
2015), and appears here with the poet’s permission.
is the author of four books of poems, including a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012) and three collections: A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014), Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017), and Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019). Her poetry, reviews, articles, and essays have been published widely.
She has also edited a print anthology, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! Poetic Responses to NPR & PBS Stories (Nine Toes Press, 2014), and an e-anthology of ekphrastic poetry, Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees (Celebrating the Photographs of Beth Moon), which was published online in 2016 as a special edition of Poemeleon Journal.
Three Poems by Robbi Nester in Verse Virtual (January
of Attraction, ekphrastic poem after Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the
Rhone, in Verse Virtual (May 2019)
Night Tunnel, ekphrastic poem after artwork by Robert Rhodes,
in The Ekphrastic Review (21 April 2016)
The Locusts, ekphrastic poem after a collage of the same name
by Mary Boxley Bullington, in The Ekphrastic Review (13 October 2015)