Featured Ekphrastic Art and Poem: American Symbol


This art and poem are a collaboration by poet Cleo Griffith and artist Carolyn Huff, whose works were part of Modesto Branch’s  ekphrastic show, “Women in America: An Artistic Celebration of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment,” which took place earlier this year at the Mistlin Gallery in Modesto, California.



American Symbol

Poem by Cleo Griffith


I have a flower on my small desk,
symbol of newness, California spring.
We enjoy the onset of blossoms
here in the Central Valley,
glad we settled here, called, like others,
to the West by opportunity.

Now, in 1911, I can actually vote.
Last year my sister-in-law Pearl, in Seattle,
wrote her excitement when Washington
gave women the vote, she and I
following this for years. Even Henry,
my husband, agrees with us ‘though
he did comment maybe there should be
a test to pass or something, but didn’t
take to the idea that men would be tested, too.

I am pleased to live in such a modern time,
with more education and opportunity,
acknowledgement: women can handle money,
help with business, build community.

I have a flower on my desk, small symbol
of present advancement, the glorious future.
I am one woman, small,
a symbol.



Art by Carolyn Huff





  1. Brenda Layman says:

    The poem and painting work very well together, and are very welcome as we celebrate women’s history.

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