Marc Chagall,Le somnambule, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons




bathes the figures

balancing and shaking

unsure, spirits of the night world



This is in response to Jane Dougherty’s Poetry Challenge. This week’s challenge was a cinquain based on the painting above.

I felt like I wanted to say more though based on this painting and Chagall’s other works.



Perilous times.

The moon hums a warning

watching over night-dreamers

and silent screamers

paralyzed with fear.

Uncertainty reigns

at the precipice

the fiddler keeps his balance–


The roof is steep,

His bows slides, the tune changes

shifts to minor,

a dirge punctuated by the drumbeat of fear

and hate

in the distance,

coming closer.








31 thoughts on “Dreamscape

  1. Marc Chagall is my Mom’s favorite designer of Christmas cards that UNICEF sells. His Peace Dove and his childlike artwork attracts the eye and usually sends a lighthearted mood.
    This piece is different in its depth which you captured and created a beautiful illustration in two poems. Thanks, Merril. This made me pause and think about how hate is always just around the corner. . .
    Have a wonderful weekend, friend!

    • Well, Chagall experienced, or at least was aware of, lots of dangerous situations, too–pogroms, WWI, and WWII. He and his wife fled France. But it does seem more dangerous now. I suppose there are more weapons and 24-hr. notice of things that happen all over the world.

  2. I like how your cinquain captures the whole dreamscape. I too noticed the feelings of fear and hesitation which you capture so well plus the role of moon as watcher. Adding the fiddler is superb. The second poem seems to be both in the painting and commenting on the recent horror in Paris (at least that’s where I went).

  3. Pingback: Poetry challenge Sleep walking: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

  4. “Balancing and shaking, spirits of the night world” really captured the atmosphere of a dream world, in my opinion. And “drumbeat of fear and hate…” The second poem made me feel uneasy and gave me a lot of things to think about. All in all, these are amazing poems, Merril!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.