This week’s poem is ekphrastic, meaning it is inspired by and based on a work of art. In this case, it’s a piece by artist and scholar David Driskell that is in the collection at the Portland Museum of Art. Like any good ekphrastic poem, this one can be read without having seen the piece, but seeing it will expand the power of the poem.

This poem was also part of a program called Artword put together by the poet Lee Sharkey, the PMA and the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance for the last few years. This year’s Artword is open for submissions through January 15, so if you think you’d like to write a poem about a piece of art, visit for more details.

Jeri Theriault’s full-length collection “Radost, my red” was released in 2016 by Moon Pie Press. Her long teaching career included six years as the English department chair at the International School of Prague.

earth dance

By Jeri Theriault

after “Procession II” by David Driskell

from blister

& joy

from mud cloth

& grandmother’s




watch skies


from pot shard

to clay


crop & toil

someone’s working

lord this land

in red pleats


& giving


someone’s singing

lord feet slapping

the rescued



juba & joy

jambon & jubilee

ashanti in head scarves

acadians in flannel


we move

through fields

the earth turned

but never quite


Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is poet who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2017 Jeri Theriault. It appears here by permission of the author. For an archive of all the poems that have appeared in this column, go to

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