Pictures inspire words

Pictures Inspire Words, poetry, susan irvine


While the Nobody’s Home exhibition was taking place at The Lighthouse in Glasgow, I received a message from Susan Irvine of Kingsbury Episcopi (I’d never heard of it either), in Somerset. She asked if there were plans for the exhibition to travel further afield. She also asked if I was OK with her using the images as inspiration for her writing. “Fine by me”, I replied.

A week later Susan gave up waiting for news of the exhibition appearing closer to home. She set off for Bristol airport and got on a plane to Glasgow. There and back in a day!

Another week later, I received six poems – each one inspired by images in the exhibition. I’ll be honest, I’m not an authority on poetry but I loved ’em. There’s an attention to detail that can only have been acquired through seeing the full size exhibition prints in person – they have a level of detail that isn’t visible when viewing the images online.

I’ve been inspired to do oddball things by others. Sometimes that inspiration can take you down some interesting paths, so I can relate to Susan’s decision to travel hundreds of miles to see a bunch of pictures at an exhibition. Happy to share two of her poems here, along with the images that inspired them.

Susan’s in the process of setting up a website dedicated to her writing: Scribbles from the Shed

PS. Posted on National Poetry Day



Corncrakes rasp

in the tall June grass,

hidden from view

like the inside of this house.


Secrets wrapped

behind faded curtains,

remembering days

when the fire blazed

and peaty smoke choked the house,

while the kettle hummed to a crescendo

and paint curled on the yellow range.


Stone pillars stand guard,

support crew for the rusty gate,

natures elements weld it shut for good.

Blood red for danger within,

warning Incomers

to Keep Out.


The letterbox whispers news

of regeneration,


Architects from Glasgow

with charts and plans

and mainland dreams.


A meteorite shower of ideas

falling from the night sky

into these old stones,

breathing new life.

©Susan Irvine


Twice a day

I’m always right,

when it’s time for tea

and dead of night.

Twice a day

I’m always right.


Whether in Harris

or Shanghai,

under inky black

or pale blue sky.

Twice a day

I’m always right

©Susan Irvine


2 thoughts on “Pictures inspire words”

  1. Thank you John for the inspiration & being kind enough to let me use the photo’s for my poems.
    To have some of my work on your blog is the highlight of my year.
    It was worth the trip!

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