A photograph to inspire poetry: Green Tomato

Green Tomato

Above is a photograph of a green tomato.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • Gardening or farming. A poet could write about growing fruits and vegetables and ideas associated with that.

  • Waiting. This tomato is green.  Assuming a person wanted it to be red before harvesting it, they would have to wait.  This idea of waiting for something could be applied to different ideas in poetry.

  • Significance through color. This tomato is known by its color and its color signifies something about it.  This idea is in other places.  A good example would be traffic lights (yellow, green and red).  Traffic lights are known by their color and their color signifies something.  There are other examples as well.  A poet could think of examples and use them in poetry.

  • Change over time. This tomato has changed over time.  It was a flower, then a small green tomato, and now a large green tomato.  If things go well, it will be a large red tomato.  A poet could apply this idea of changing over time to different things and use those ideas in poetry.

Artwork to inspire poetry: black and white strawberry

black and white strawberry

Above is a black and white artwork of a strawberry.  It can inspire poetry.  Here are some ideas.  A poet could write about:

  • The idea of the loss of color. As this strawberry is presented without its usual colors of red, green, and so forth, a poet could write about someone or something losing color.  They could write about furniture that has faded.  They could write about a person so scared they lost the color in their face.  They could apply the idea symbolically, and write about a thing or person losing something fundamental to it or themselves.

  • A person not wanting to be noticed. This strawberry has a muted appearance.  It does not stand out as much as a colorful strawberry would.  A poet could apply this idea to people.  They could write about a person who does not want to be noticed.  An example might be a person at a performance who hopes they don’t get called up on stage.

  • A person not being noticed. As a corollary to the idea above, a poet could write about a person who isn’t noticed.  An example might be a person at a party who no one talks to (although not because they don’t like the person, but rather, because they don’t notice them).


Here is an example poem:

The leaves were green,
but then they changed,
first red,
then yellow,
then brown.
And then one day,
in the wind,
they blew away,
and the tree was bare.
The drought was in,
its hundredth day.

A photograph to inspire poetry: green dragonfly on a banana leaf

green dragonfly on a banana leaf

Above is a photograph of a green dragonfly on a banana leaf.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • The idea of a person matching their surrounds. This matching could mean in terms of culture, personality, appearance or something else.  The idea is that a poet could relate a person to a place in the same way that this dragonfly relates to the banana leaf.

  • The idea of appearance not matching reality. In this case, the dragonfly has thin translucent wings.  It almost seems as though they should not work for flying.  Despite this though, they do work.  A poet could translate this idea to people.  They could write about a person whose appearance, as perceived by others, does not match their abilities.

  • The idea of names. The dragonfly and the banana leaf both have descriptive names.  There is a dragon-fly and there is a banana-leaf.  A poet could write about names.  They could write about how a name describes a person, thing or place and how that name is perceived by others and by the person or thing (if aware) that has it.  A poet could write about the impact of names.

Here is a poem inspired by the photograph:

By choice,
or by chance,
in sunlight,
and shadows,

Artwork to inspire poetry: plantains


The artwork above is a food artwork.  It is of cooked plantains.  The plantains were sliced and cooked in a butter alternative.  When they were nearing being done, brown sugar, honey and lemon juice were added.  The plantains were cooked a bit more and then served.  Although this food is not vegan in the sense that honey (and possibly sugar) are not vegan, it does not contain any meat or dairy.

This artwork can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • Places where plantains grow. A poet could look up the regions of the world where plantains grow and write about those places.  A poet could learn and write about what plantain farms are like and about those who work there.

  • Cooking plantains. A poet could write about a meal being prepared with plantains as a side dish or a desert.

  • The colors in the food. This dish contains yellows, golds, oranges and browns.  A poet could write a poem with those colors and use them symbolically in poetry.

  • Sweet vs. savory as a metaphor. This dish is sweet.  The plantains were ripe and brown sugar and honey were used.  Plantains can also be cooked as a savory item.  They can be fried and sprinkled with salt.  A poet could see this contrast and use it as a metaphor for other things.
    There are a number of experiences and situations that could be one way or another depending on circumstances.  A poet could write about these situations and examine the ways they could differ.  A poet might include different versions of the same situation in the same poem.

A photograph to inspire poetry: squirrel in a broken branch

squirrel in a broken branch

Above is a photograph of a squirrel in a broken branch.  It can inspire poetry.  Here is an example:

the neighborhood looks nice,
and the place is cozy,
the views are nice,
and there is hardwood throughout
with a history of storm damage,
those neighbors who stay up all night wondering Who-Who will move in,
and that whole lack of a front door thing,
it might not be the best place

Artwork to inspire poetry: mosquito


Above is an artwork of a mosquito.  Below are some poetry ideas from it.  A poet could write about:

  • Mosquitos. A poet could focus on different aspects.  They might write about their place in nature, the idea of them being pests, ideas about disease or other things.  A poet could focus on seasons and place.  They could also use the ideas symbolically for other things.

  • Blood. A poet could write about different things related to blood.  They could write about donating blood, blood tests, bleeding, the idea of being related and other things.

  • Vulnerability. A poet could think about how vulnerable mosquitos are and apply the idea metaphorically to different situations.

Here is an example poem:

A hat,
long sleeve shirt,
long socks,
closed shoes,

middle of summer,
armor for gardening.

Artwork to inspire poetry: a broken hazelnut without its shell

a broken hazelnut without its shell

Above is an artwork of a broken hazelnut without its shell.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • The idea of something being broken. The poet could look at the idea of broken as being negative or positive depending on the situation.

  • The idea of pieces. A poet could focus on pieces of something, either physical or pieces of an idea.

  • The idea of putting something back together. The poet could focus on something physical or look at the idea symbolically.

Here is an example poem:

The weight did fall,
the foot did break,
held together,
in the plaster.
Six weeks pass,
steps are climbed,
the day does come,
when there is breath.
Seeing the familiar,
looking so different.
Doing something basic,
with such effort.
Walking without thought,
and thinking of it.

Poetry essay: Using photography to inspire poetry

A regular category on this blog consists of photographs to inspire poetry.  You can read posts in the category here: photographs to inspire poetry, and see all the photographs used in those posts here: photographs and artwork.

Photography can be a great tool for finding poetry inspiration.  A person can take an abundance of photographs themselves, plus there are many photographs that a person can use under the right circumstances.  Also, there are almost innumerable photography subjects.  This all gives a wide range a person can draw from when using photography for poetry inspiration.

When using a photograph for poetry inspiration, how a poet uses the photograph might vary depending on circumstance.

If the photograph were personal to the poet or something that came with a clear emotional response for the poet, then the poet might be direct in their poetic expression.  If the poet is connected to the photograph, the ideas for the poetry inspired by it can flow naturally.

On the other hand, if the photograph were impersonal to the poet, then they might be broader in how they are inspired.

If a poet isn’t particularly connected to a photograph, they could find many avenues for inspiration.  They might start by just brainstorming associations with the photograph.  They could just list out things that come to mind when looking at the photo.  They might even take ideas that come from those first ideas and go further like in a game of word association.  A poet can see all kinds of symbolism in a photograph once they start thinking in that way.

Additionally, a poet might decide to focus on different aspects of a photograph.  They might be inspired by the main subject.  Alternatively, they could look for things in the background, or even things that are missing from the photograph, and see inspiration there.  A poet could also look at things such as shapes, colors and lighting for inspiration.  A poet could take different approaches and write multiple poems from the same picture.

Photography is a good tool for poetry inspiration because it gives a starting point and is broad for interpretation.  It can be a place for a poet to start writing when they can’t think of ideas and it can lead to many different ideas.

If you are looking for some photographs to inspire poetry, feel free to be inspired by the ones from this blog.  You can either just look at the photograph on the photographs and artwork page or you can read at the posts from the page for the category here: photographs for inspiration.  The posts give ideas for how the photography in them can inspire poetry and can be a good place to start.


P. S. This is the tenth poetry essay on this blog. When the category was started in November of last year, there was a mention that there would be ten posts in the category and then there would be a determination made if the category would continue. As this is the tenth post, it is time for the determination.

In M. Sakran’s opinion, the category has gone well.  The essays filled in a missing piece in the blog and added content that readers could get something from.  Altogether, the category seems alright.

There is the issue though of thinking of new poetry essays going forward.  Some categories on this blog are more difficult to write posts for than others because of the idea of finding something new.  This category is a bit like that.  There is some thought about how difficult it will be to think of new and interesting essay topics going forward.

That being said, as it stands now, the category will continue.  At the moment, its continuation is still on a trial basis though.  It will continue as long as new and interesting posts can be thought of for it.  There is some notion, that if it ends, that the ending will be thought about in advance, announced in advance and end at some nice sounding number.

For the time being though, the category will continue.