Ekphrasis* on the Prairie

Benjamin and Therese Brosseau

  • 2D Art
  • Poetry
decorative header image from Volume III Issue 2 · Spring 2017

*An ekphrasis is a poem about a picture.

A watercolor painting of a dickissel bird sitting on a prairie clover.

Dickcissel and Prairie Clover, (Watercolor Board) 9” x 12,” Therese Brosseau, 2017

Rest, Clover

Thank you, prairie clover,
selfless servant,
whose stems, flowers,
seeds, roots, are ground
beneath the ceaseless churning
of seasons, as migratory wanderers
seek proliferation
in pastures beyond your own.

Their weight bends, breaks,
butchers your body, but no
matter, for you only ask
that winter claim your broken
frame and bring it forth
anew next season
when the snow seeps
into the soil. Then you spring
forth, ready to host
more searching souls, your
subtle flowers singing toward the sun.

Watercolor painting of a squirrel in front of a yellow cornflower.

“Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel and Long- Headed Coneflower,” (Watercolor Board) 9” x 12,” Therese Brosseau, 2017

Flowers Fall

Keep running, ground
squirrel, running
to the burrows,
seeking food, satisfy
the hunger, that need
for running: the pace,
or price, of survival.

Don’t pause to consider
the cone flowers, little
creature, don’t let their fleeting
beauty distract from your
mission. Soon they will be gone,
winter come or fire,
storm, they will wither.

The flowers can afford
to wait, watch the passing
sun and accept winter’s kiss.

They are already cold,
inert as the earth beneath
and you are warm,
warm, warm so run,
ground squirrel, run,
and find your home
before the petals fall.

Watercolor painting of a butterfly on a pink milk thistle flower.

American Lady and Milk Thistle, (Watercolor Board) 9” x 12,” Therese Brosseau, 2017

Look at her wings

pinned back against
one another, touching
like dancers displaying
their act. A kiss.

The owl’s eye watches
from its lucid landscape,
clashing colors melding in
a simulacrum of church
on Sunday morning,
panes cutting sunlight,
splashing distortion over
thistle arms reaching
toward the sky.

A pause. Soon
the scene will dance
again, colors
blurring, bending
the dancers quicken
their routine. Climbing,
climbing, they dance
so that she may alight
elsewhere. Rootstalk leaf-bug icon marking the end of the article's text.

About Author Benjamin Brosseau
Portrait image of author Benjamin Brosseau.
Photo courtesy of Benjamin Brosseau
Benjamin Brosseau, raised in Seattle, Washington, graduated from Grinnell College in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in English. He worked on two Spring issues of Rootstalk as a student and is now pursuing work as a writer and editor. Aside from his love for writing, Benjamin is also an avid hiker and budding wildlife photographer.
About Artist Therese Brosseau
Portrait image of artist Therese Brosseau.
Photo courtesy of Therese Brosseau
Therese Brosseau is a Natural Science Illustrator from Seattle, Washington where she lives with her husband, two sons, six chickens and one honey bee hive. She finds that providing viewers with an up close, detailed perspective of the natural world is one of the most rewarding aspects of her practice.