Poem of the Week: When Night Falls

by Barbara Menghini Whitmarsh
Bayou II, Texas Branch

painting for poem, When Night Falls

Leo J. Menghini, artist

 

When Night Falls

When night falls at the foot of the mountains

Red men from Pueblos

Climb ladders

To mingle in galaxies

Challenge Sagittarius in archery

Feed pieces of the Ram to the Dog Star

Then chase him from camp

His tail a cowering comet

They declaw Ursa Major

To make necklaces for their chiefs

Rub the dust of stars

On the bites of Scorpio

Topple the Northern Cross

Pray again to old gods

Then descend in moonlight

And rise again with the dawn

 


Note from Barb: The painting is by my father who painted it years before I wrote the poem at 16. I was all into astronomy back then. When my father died in 1994 my brother Joe got the painting. I got a few of his other pieces. His hobby was painting but he ran the corporate graphic art department at McGraw Hill for 40 years. My husband surprised me by combining the two. I never even thought of it.

Obviously, dad wasn’t in NLAPW, but when I became a member he was very proud. His name was Leo J. Menghini, a proud and dutiful man.

Barb W.

 

Comments

  1. Joseph Menghini says:

    ‘When Night Falls’ is so much a work of poetry meeting astronomy that it should be
    used at lecture for Advanced Creative Writing as well as for Constellational Astronomy. It is
    a softly spoken work exposing awe inspiring imagery. It is a deep breath upon the heavens
    and paired with the painting it’s as if the person walking home in the snow is ‘thinking’
    this poem. It’s truly evocative!

    Barb Whitmarsh’s works are always ‘true’ – they refuse to be contrivances and can make
    a grey day seem brighter just as she restores an unfailing faith in our nations flag as
    she continually reminds her readers of the sacrifices of our soldiers in lands far away
    separated from loved ones – her words an epitaph to many that did not, and for those
    who will not return.

    And to have written such a poem at the age of 16 is, in itself, a work of art.

    Thank you for sharing and caring

    J. G. Menghini

  2. Barb Whitmarsh says:

    THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO COMMENTED ON MY WORK.
    ITS A GREAT TEAM THAT WE’RE ALL IN.
    B.W.

  3. Kim Beardsley-Garrison says:

    Lovely poem and picture. I know I get much of my inspiration from paintings. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Kim Beardsley-Garrison says:

    Lovely poem and picture. I know I get much of my inspirstion from paintings. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Kiki Swanson says:

    My dad painted too, in addition to being a high school principal and a former physics and chem teacher. He died way too young at 63, and I have about 30 of his paintings. What have you done with your dad’s paintings? When I die, these will be sold, I suppose, maybe at a yard sale? There ought to be a better place than that! Any ideas?

    Keep writing! Kiki Swanson in Scottsdale AZ

    • Barb Whitmarsh says:

      KIKI, I’M SORRY YOU LOST YOUR DAD WHEN HE WAS THAT AGE. MY DAD WAS 2 WEEKS SHY OF 85. MY MOM DIED FIRST AND SHE WAS 68. DAD WENT FRANTIC. ANYWAY I’M ONE OF 6 KIDS. DAD GAVE EACH OF US NUMEROUS PAINTINGS. MY FAV IS THE ONE HE GAVE FOR MY 40TH BDAY. I LOVE MONET’S “IMPRESSION SUNRISE” SO HE DID A REPRO AND HIS ART BUDDIES TOLD HIM IT WAS EVERY BIT AS GOOD AS MONET’S. I’VE SEEN THE REAL ONE IN FRANCE. I’M NOT GOING TO SAY DAD’S WAS BETTER BUT DARN CLOSE. ANY PAINTINGS I HAVE WILL GO TO MY 3 KIDS AND MY SIBLINGS ARE DOING THE SAME. THEN I GUESS ON TO GRANDKIDS ETC.
      IF YOU HAVE NO ONE TO GIVE YOUR PAINTINGS TO PERHAPS DONATE THEM TO YOUR COLLEGE OR LOCAL MUSEUM OR THE PEN WOMEN BUILDING. I’M SURE ANYONE OF THEM WOULD BE MOST APPRECIATIVE.

      THANKS FOR YOUR KIND COMMENT. IT MEANS A LOT.
      B.W.

  6. Between the painting and the poem nothing could be nicer.
    A lovely tribute to your Dad and to your brother for bringing
    all together. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Dorothy Kamm says:

    I love the imagery in the poem. It’s perfect paired with your dad’s painting.

  8. Sara Etgen-Baker says:

    touching story; I enjoyed your poem. When I lived in New Mexico I think I often saw the red men in the pueblos… 🙂
    Thanks, I enjoyed both the poetry and the painting.

  9. for Barb: All you need for enhancing now is a bit of “Star Dust’ performed on harp by PEN Nina of SC.

  10. Adding to my previous comment. I am interested in Indian lore since I had a Hopi pen pal in elementary school.

    • Barb Whitmarsh says:

      I’M HALF MOHAWK.
      I LOVE ALL THINGS NATIVE AMERICAN.
      THEY ARE GREAT PEOPLE.
      LOVE THE HOPI, ZUNI, ETC.

      IF YOU GIVE MY YOUR ADDRESS I’LL SEND YOU A LIL THING INDIAN THAT I THINK YOU’LL LIKE.
      B.W.

  11. When Night Falls
    What a great poem. I can see the nighttime action.
    I loved the background story.

  12. What a beautiful pairing!

  13. Mikki Root Dillon says:

    I love both your dad’s painting and your poetry. I am very familiar with the Taos Pueblo and his interpretation is lovely.

    • Barb Whitmarsh says:

      THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH
      I JUST TOLD BOBBIE THAT MY DAD ALSO PAINTED THE AIRPLANE PICS DURING WW2 – HUNDREDS OF THEM.
      . MANY ARE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN BUT PERHAPS A NICE WHALE SET UP A MUSEUM
      FATHOMS BELOW.
      B.W.