Ekphrasis Goddess Centered Poetry

May 14, 2015, Martha Ann Blackman, Wendy Williams, Marilyn Price, Anna Marie, Tim McHargue, Liz Ochoa, Jeremy Greene, Stan Zumbiel, Mike Pickering, William Laws and myself read ekphrasis poetry inspired by my art show She: Images of the Goddess and or poems inspired by the Goddess. Melen Lunn and Sharon Mahoney also, contributed. The audience and poets formed a large circle for the sharing of the poetry. Here are some of the poems generated from my art. Here is my poem followed by several others. Enjoy, and thank you so much.

I Am a Goddess by Jennifer O’Neill Pickering

 with Goddess skin

sweet and chocolaty

dark as loam

pale as porcelain

wrinkled like a walnut shell

leather hardened

in California summers

peachy flecked with gold

Blessed is my skin.


I am a Goddess with breasts

ripe as mangos

perfect as May plums

comforting as down pillows

the milk on the baby’s tongue

Blessed are my breasts.


I am a Goddess my lips

Blossoms of pink

purse in cherried pouts

open into a Grand Canyon smiles

draw pensive lines of deep thought

murmur lullabies and lift in praise

Blessed are my lips.


I am a Goddess my hands

scrub floors write just laws,

stir Sunday stews, paint masterpieces

gnarl with use as ancient oaks

fold in prayers of peace

forge righteous links

from Ferguson to Baltimore

Blessed are my hands.


I am a Goddess stand proud

on sandled feet

walk, Eve from West Africa

carry babies on cradleboards

over Alps across rivers and seas

through desert and prairie 

dance around camp fires on city stage.

River Goddess, watercolor by Jennifer O'Neill Pickering
with Marilyn shown next to the painting at the Brickhouse Gallery

River Goddess, by Marilyn Price

she gathered the acorns of strength
pounded them to dust
fine enough to powder her skin
when leached then steamed
as fine a meal as Eden had
she fell asleep and her belly
knotted into a core, her trunk thickened
her hands reached to the sky
her fingernails buds swayed in the wind
her hair graceful oak leaves
her feet planted and she felt her roots
reach to the water and she was river
river flowing river greening the earth
the earth that was her the river that she was

the sky moving in her leaves

Crow or Raven Goddess  watercolor
by Jennifer O'Neill Pickering
with Wendy standing next to
the painting at the Brickhouse Gallery.

Mandala Goddess, by Wendy Patrice Williams

A woman of many colors looks into my eyes,
a halo over her head,
a smaller face emerging in profile
from the side of her skull—ancient

Across her chest
snake with forked tongue
slithering among lilies or daisies

A raven perched on her shoulder, berries
in its beak, two small blue birds perch
on a large leaf
growing up from her shoulder

She is of earth
its blue-green waters
and rosy mountains

Without nature—
stems, moons, crawlers, winged ones
she would not exist, would wander
across a barren landscape—anomie

But no, half her face peach, half doe-brown,
she is in the center of the circle, goddess
of this new generation, looking forward,
looking back.

Woman with Sunflowers, digital collage
by Jennifer O'Neill Pickering

at the Brickhouse Gallery.

Face with Sunflower by Marilyn Price

i am that i am
the eye of the sun
the eye of the smile
the flower with the eye that
welcomes the sun
smiles at the sun
like the face of the woman
who gleams at the sun

i am the i am
that is the sun
that smiles on the flower
with the eye of a smile
like the eyes of the woman
who smiles at the flower
that smiles at the sun
i am the i am
the woman who waits
for the sun to awaken
to smile on the flower
who gathers the flowers
with her eyes wide and smiling
i am the i am

Goddess Helianthus by Sharon Mahany
After painting by Jennifer Pickering O’Neill

Exalted, sunflower-tall, she emerges.

She, with face swiped in colors of patriotism

looks beyond their ovate leafy appeal

to lift high and blend blue

past the face of her former fading self,

throwing brilliant sunny promises aside.

She turns east to shower seed.

Each quatrain of seed yields another bushel of seed,

looks beyond ideals of others

to lift high and blend blue, plucking

one last rosette to bend behind her ear.

            The Balinese blessing girl walks silently along the path
by my bungalow each morning.  She cradles a woven basket of
offerings to Krishna, the Hindu god.  The large flat basket
contains small, colorful flowers, folded palm leaves, clumps
of cooked white rice and lighted sticks of incense.
            Every ten feet she pauses, kneels down gracefully and
chooses an assortment of these items to place on tiny woven
mats along the path, in the garden and near the pond.  She
arranges the offering with delicate fingers and waves
her hand in a gentle swaying motion above the offering.
            The young woman wears a sarong, with a large cloth
belt wrapped around her waist.  She has a yellow flower in
her long dark hair, which is pulled back in a tight braid.
She walks silently, like a dream, propelled by the hint of a
breeze.  She is serene, focused and calm in her mission.
            I am awed by her ritual.  It is a pleasing ceremony and
evokes a calming sensation; watching the deliberate, graceful
movement of this Balinese beauty is like watching a poem
or a prayer.Then, leaving a trail of wispy incense, she disappears,
changing into Levi's and a T-shirt.  She carries her supplies
in a plastic grocery bag and she straps on a motorcycle
helmet.  Soon she mounts a moped and putters rapidly into
the mainstream of the rest of the world.

Raven Goddess by Sharon Mahany

After Raven or Crow Goddess, a watercolor by Jennifer O’Neill Pickering

She smiles an inner beauty

bold eye-on-eye confidence

embedded in each chromosome of Kodachrome

thin-air mountains nourish seeding sunflowers

scattering kernels as droplets of love

salmon-colored serpent glides across ocean lands

posing in chest-deep water

neon iceplant patterns the fragments between

scents of lavender and deep woody licorice

sands jot blue dots among rocks and crags

pink conch bears no burdens, simply song

bluebirds pinch foodstuff from chartreuse leaf edges

a blue mother crow

breathes questions of the universe

into a receptive ear:

            why do rainbows form ground-up?

            why is it rainbows are never found braided?

            why does a blue sky gray

                        before holding a rainbow

                        across its face

                        to dry its tears?


in the sphere of a goddess

a bird plucks a hair from her rainbow

                        adding the necessary woman’s touch

                        to soften its nest

in the sphere of a goddess

nature’s secrets are audible

and all things are possible

The Art by Melen Lunn
after Jennifer's art  in the exhibit She: Images of the Goddess

A goddess
floats in mandala dream
hair of sunflowers
doves resting in her hands

Follow her lilies
rose-gold pears
rivers and
faces of a sun

The Goddess as Art, by Martha Ann Blackman
from art of Jennifer O’Neill Pickering                     

In Spring, in Fall,
in Summer, in Winter,
the Goddess is flying
with the crow
over the river.

The flight is a dream,
totem of power and strength.

A Woman with Sunflowers
is falling into the digital
collage print of
the Tuscany Madonna.

Drawings of the Cave Goddess
and River Goddess are on the rocks.

Lady Spring, Moon Goddess,
holds the Talking Stick,
The Gold, Sienna, and Indigo.

Venus surfaces in Willendorf,
with a scroll for the Three Sisters.
She is nude, an Artist Muse.

She is me and she is you.

Dream, w/c Brickhouse Gallery 
shown with Martha Ann Blackman

Dream, Martha Ann Blackman

As with each of us,

this face is two people,

one on the left,

one on the right.

There is transparency

in the face,

in the sheerness

of the light,

in the touch of the hand

to the cheek.

Doves seal their kiss

with flowers

and flowers float.

She questions the love,

but does not doubt it.

Her arms are open,

her hips wide.

She is wearing her heart,

he is wearing his.

Her breasts are ripe,

the star on her shoulder

is her spark.

Martha Ann Blackman has published poetry in The Sacramento Anthology: 100 Poems, Tule Review, Because People Matter, Hard Pressed, The Co-op Reporter, The Random Collective, West Conscious Review, Mid-Atlantic Region News, Mass Transit Poetry Project, Voices, Out of Sight 40/James Mechem, and The Denver Post.

Wendy Patrice Williams is a board member  for the Sacramento Poetry Center and the the Red Fox Underground, poets of the Sierra foothills. Her poems appear in Rattlesnake Review, Poetry Depth Quarterly, The Acorn, and elsewhere. Her short stories are published in Shore Stories: An Anthology of the Jersey Shore and Whatever It Takes: Women on Women’s Sport. In 2008, Friends of Bayley House published Bayley House Bard, her chapbook of reflections on the historic Bayley House in Pilot Hill, California. Wendy is currently completing a memoir, The Autobiography of a Sea Creature

Tim McHargue has published three books of prose poetry, Typography of the Flesh: Thirty Prose Poems; Bali Rain Psalm: The Bali Prose Poems; and Wig Bubbles. He has also published freelance articles on art, entertainment, and social issues in numerous publications in the Sacramento area. He plays guitar and composes songs, and co-produced the soundtrack for the “Floating Man” video. In addition, he is a school psychologist and director of disability services at Folsom Lake College. Please view light boxes at: trunkgallery.com

Melen Lunn
Marilyn Price
Sharon Mahany


  1. Love the work Jennifer, great idea.

    Here goes me, why I write: I was in junior high when my best girl friend's brother,home from college on holiday gave me a book by Kierkegaart and said, "here, read this and tell me what you think at Christmas break".

    I was smitten, and set out copying all of the unfamiliar words in a note book as I read. I don't recall understanding one bit of what I read but I learned many new words.

    On my own I'd try using these new words in sentences and pretty soon I was writing poetry which of course I never shared with anyone until much later. One line from an early poem comes to mind, "and you and I are walking in the forest munching a carrot."

    And speaking of carrots, here's one published in Medusa's Kitchen

    A CARROT Feb. 28, 2012
    —Ann Privateer, Davis

    a carrot found
    in the street
    Oh Dear.

    fully grown
    green lacy leaves
    feather above

    but alas
    it's yellow
    not orange

    discarded, I think
    I'll take it
    scrub it

    then eat
    this unusual strain
    to see

    what magic
    will be imparted
    on me.

    By Ann Privateer


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