dVerse — Poetics 429 — Donna

donna cropped

Update!  I have an app called TinEye that searches the internet for matches of images.  Looky what I found!  At wikiart.org it says the name of the work is, “Portrait of Nan,” by Grant Wood and is dated 1933.

Update 2:  OMG.  After learning who the artist was and the name of the painting, I dug a little deeper.  The subject in this painting is the same woman who is the subject in one of the most famous American paintings out there, “American Gothic.”  Nan is the artist, Grant Wood’s, sister, and she took a lot of mean comments for how she looked in the first painting.  As an apology, Grant did this one of her.  Read more about Grant and Nan Wood here.



Jerry insisted I take a day off from canning peaches to have Mr. Jonas from Prairie Times come out to do one of those what they call “human interest stories.”

We’ve been farming all of our lives. We grew up on adjoining farms. Our mothers are best friends. Jerry and I have known each other from the beginning.

About ten years after we got married, Jerry’s dad was gored by a cranky boar in mating season. He died of something they call Merza [sic.] My dad passed about a year later in a tractor accident. His ribs were stove in and crushed his heart.

We farm both parcels together now and ended up taking on some help. No, God never graced us with young’ns.

Mr. Jonas asks if he can take my picture holding some of the farm in my hands. I say OK. Then he and Jerry walk out to the John Deere so he can take one of Jerry.

Poached eggs, sourdough toast,
and jam for breakfast –
Sheets dry on the line.

donna face cropped

I found this woman’s image in my collage boxes and have written a modified haibun for her. 

Mish is today’s host of dVerse‘ Poetics. Mish says:
…Option #2 From your own collection … choose a photo where the eyes speak to you, express an emotion or lure you in. What do you see? What are their eyes saying? What is their story?

55 thoughts on “dVerse — Poetics 429 — Donna

  1. I’m amazed you discovered that story in the eyes of the woman in the picture, Lisa! There’s so much detail, especially the deaths of the two fathers. I sense regret that they never had children, so she makes do with chicks and her daily routine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well it started with her eyes but then it took in the rest of her. One of my elementary school friends’ family up and left the city for a farming life. This woman looks a little like her and her name is Donna so I built a story from it. I like what you see in her story, Kim.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That pragmatic “life goes on” tone of a life inured to suffering is captured so realistically here, Lisa, as well as the simple comfort and joy found in daily life. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. WOW…it is fascinating the way an image can take you on a journey and yours was a first class tour of brilliant writing. I love the dialogue of thoughts, the random, graphic details that just humanized the whole experience. WOW again.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I also learned that American Gothic is in the Chicago Institute of Art which is about 3 hours from here. Once the world settles down, I would love to go for a weekend in Chi and visit the institute and go back to the Hall of Jade in the Museum of Science and Industry again. Tiffany’s Mermaid stained glass hangs there. It’s one panel he refused to sell. His son has it on loan to the museum.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. I do also! I’ve driven and even walked past that institute but never went in. I’ve been to the science museum a couple of times, once as a kid and once as an adult. They also have Shedd Aquarium, which is an amazing place to see all kinds of different water creatures. They are all kind of in the same area, near Lake MI.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I just read the article…very cool. American Gothic reminds me of The Grapes of Wrath right away.
                I went to Chicago once but didn’t get to get out and see much. I would love to go again…see the sights and the Cubs.

                I would also like to go to the Smithsonian…Jennifer and I have talked about it.

                Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the glimpse of a life you created with your lines, and then to compare with the original artwork and the story behind it is really interesting. An original and creative approach to the challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s something stripped raw about this, Lisa. You pared away any flourishes her life might have had, but I expect there weren’t many any way. It feels so desolate to me, but the image I have of farming in the middle of nowhere, especially for a woman, fills me with dread.

    Liked by 1 person

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