Prisoner of the Storm

Posted: January 24, 2017 in history and art

So this is fun and challenging: write a poem using nouns as verbs! Lillian at dverse has thrown down this particular gauntlet! As a base for the prompt I took one of the prints created by the remarkable Japanese woodblock print designer Utagawa Hiroshige.

Ohashi bridge insects
over Sumadi River.
Locust rain obliterates
Atake. The town reduced
to a far-bank blot.
This web sends people
scurrying, cloud under
coats and umbrellas.
But there’s no escape
for a lone boatman.
Soaked he bends to the task.
Spades his log raft downstream.
His only focus to ride out the storm.

Sudden Shower at Ohashi Bridge, Atake, by Utagawa Hiroshige, 1857


  1. Oh that poor boat-man… love insect as a verb… almost made the bridge alive.

  2. lillian says:

    Fabulous print you’ve used…..and you had me with the first two lines…the bridge insects its way…and I can feel the boatman pushing, pushing through the storm. Excellent post — so glad you took up the gauntlet 🙂

  3. kim881 says:

    I love the illustration of the Ohashi bridge insects. Poor lone boatsman – its’ true, there is no escape.

  4. whimsygizmo says:

    Insect as verb is fantastic, Paul. I love the visuals you create with your words here.

  5. Wonderful marriage of image and words. Well played sir.

  6. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Very creative way to use the prompt, and so far there is not much repetition of noun-verbing out here on the trail; this little gem is my favorite so far; smile.

  7. sanaarizvi says:

    Beautifully done 🙂

  8. Candy says:

    so descriptive! love the image of the bridge as it’insects’ over the river.

  9. frankhubeny says:

    Their only focus is to ride out the storm, both those on the bridge an the guy in boat. Nice woodcut by Hiroshige. None of the lines were horizontal.

  10. Mish says:

    i really enjoyed this. You set the scene so well. “Insect” as a verb is wonderful.

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