Monday, 10 May 2010

The Poetry Bus Mystery Ticket Adventure with P Nolan

This week's poetry bus challenge, set by our esteemed driver of the week, P Nolan here, was to select an image from Flickr using an arcane and mysterious process, and then write about it.

Here's my image:

This is called “Ferme du château, Cornusson” from the collection of the Bibliothèque de Toulouse. It was taken by one Eugène Trutat between 1859 and 1910.

When I first looked at this image, I was completely uninspired. Ok, we see two people, who have played or are about to play tennis. Ok, she’s wearing hideously impractical clothes, hmm, can I do anything with that? Nope, not really. Perhaps I could do something about their relationship – tennis game as metaphor for the battle of the sexes? Blecch! Been done to death, that one.

The past is a foreign country….?  Hmm, now we’re onto something. What would I see if I had a time machine and went back to that scene?


Stepping from my time machine
I came upon an idyllic scene.

A tennis game, a summer’s day
A smiling invite: come and play!

It’s France, the year is nineteen-ten
Oh, but things were different then.

We know their customs and their ways
From dusty photos from those days.

But ‘pon my soul! What could be creepier?
Back then, the world was actually sepia.


  1. The rhymed couplets suit the subject and tone, which of course is capped by that killer ending! Love the unexpectedness of it and love all it implies! Great and interesting take on the prompt.

  2. hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!
    ron says that about the fifties as a little boy in bad old london.. (it actually was black and white he reckons).. loved the short sharp rhymes and the theme is just excellent! :-D

  3. Great endlines :-) Thanks for bussing!

  4. Great job! I wouldn't want to try to play tennis in that getup either...

    My poem this week is just pure silliness. Heh.

  5. me too I thought my scratchy old image was dull, but you came up with something neat!

  6. I am always amazed at the useful clutter there must be in your brain. Wish i could rummage around and find verses in mine.

  7. Fantastic, great punchline

  8. excellent pome - you should look up "40-love" by Roger McGough.

  9. Love the time traveling! All in sepia reminds me of the film, Pleasantville where all life is in black and white until the characters realize their passions. Great film.... and your poem aligns nicely with that concept.

  10. @Karen - Thanks! I found the picture very uninspiring so, as I do in these situation, I resorted to silliness.

    @Watercats - Ron is right I think, it was b&w then. Cheers!

    @Mr Nolan - Thanks for driving. I didn't like my picture, but rules is rules and I didn't swap it for a more pleasing one - more of a challenge that way.

    @Bug - I can't figure out how people did play sports dessed like that. It must all have been very sedate.

    @NanU - Thanks!

    @Rachel - And thank you! Daring rhyme? I assume creepier/sepia? Desperate rather than daring I think.

    @Friko - It's true: my head is chock full of clutter and I bet you'd find verses a-plenty in yours too. Ccome play on the bus with us.

    @Niamh - Thanks, I do like punchlines in pomes and elsewhere.

    @DFTP - Roger McGough is a splendid poet (pote?) I'll have to have a gander at 40-love.

    @Jeanne - Thanks. Not seen Pleasantville, but am somewhat intrigued now.

  11. Oh Argent. I actually did laugh out loud. Great use of couplets.

    Love your thoughts on first seeing the photograph as well.

  12. I really like the way you think. Very discriminating, you are. And yes, I think pairing creepier with sepia is brilliant. I rather doubt you're capable of doing anything uninspired. You seem to be a writer well acquainted with inspiration.
    Cheers from Chris

  13. @Titus - Thanks, glad you were amused by it.

    @Enchanted Oak - Many thanks. I do enjoy a challenge and having something to write about which doesn't grab me really makes me try and see if I can wring something out of it, so it's a good exercise at the very least.

  14. Great fun, but also clever, I think? I love the idea of a sepia world, and it's always interesting to hear about the process someone goes through to come up with a poem. (glad you rejected the whole battle of the sexes as a game of tennis thing, too)

  15. Brill-o! You need to join our "Sepia Saturday" group here:

    Thanks for steering clear of that whole battle of the sexes thing.

    Funny and fun!


  16. @PF - Thanks! I'm glad I rejecte dthe cliche of the battle of the sexes, too!

    @Poetikat - Thanks! Sepiasaturday, eh? Sounds interesting, I shall be round for a visit.

  17. Well tackled and grand finale was funny!

  18. Haha! Comic poetry is good for the soul. And if you watch the films from back then, not only was the world sepia, everybody walked faster. I blame global warming.

  19. (That Dominic was me by the way! I signed in wrong...)

  20. What can I say? You are very, very clever and talented!


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