Workshop Poem

In 2004 I attended a local Poetry workshop.   In one of our exercises we were given a piece of art to look at and then write a poem.  We were shown “Japanese Girl With Red Table” by Balthus.   Here is both the poem and the painting.   Who’s art moves you?


Meeting Balthus’ Japanese Girl with Red Table for the first time.



with her sex exposed

an ancient royal gift

tied up in a silk sash and bow

to be opened or closed

fondled or forgotten

leaning against the pillow

breath held

focused on a tapestry

until the spoken words “thank you”

break her neutrality

like the great exhale

as she humbly

turns to the red table

to pour tea

and cry


Zack Hoffman         May 2004



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