Knowing What He Didn’t Know

My friend Lynda (Echostains Art Blog) issued another poetry challenge, which I accepted. You may recall her previous challenge, Vincent Could’ve Told You, a You Tube prompt— video morphing montage of Van Gogh’s self-portraits.  Well, this time the challenge takes place on Bookstains, her poetry site, and I’d like to share my response for One Shot Poetry Wednesday!

Bookstains Poetry Challenge:
“This poetry challenge is about the smile of the famous Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo Da Vinci.  The lady’s smile (and it has been said that she may not be all ‘she’ seems) is one of the most enigmatic smiles ever painted. To submit your poem or haiku which can be as profound, humorous, long or short as you like, either submit in the comments section here or send it by email to me and I will put it on this page.  You can use the logo on your blog – but please link to me:)  The challenge is to write a poem or a haiku about that smile, or the lady or the relationship between the artist and the lady.”

Knowing What He Didn’t Know

Her eyes couldn’t help but glow
Knowing what he didn’t know
There is someone missing
From cradling arms
Lisa’s lips hath subtle charm
Under cover of dark dress
For life she holds a child blessed

Care for a reading?

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87 Responses to “Knowing What He Didn’t Know”

  1. Very clever, I always suspected she was hiding a bump under the frock 😉

    • I’m not certain, nobody can be at this point, if she even hides anything. After spending last weekend with my family and baby niece, I watched all the women in my family holding her. Lisa’s pose reminds me of that. When I look at this painting I imagine a baby could have easily have been painted in the positioning of her arms. 🙂

  2. Very beautifully deciphered Dustus, I enjoyed it a lot and I think you are right too…

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    Twitter: @VerseEveryDay

  3. A brilliant new angle on Mona – I love it Adam! I’m putting it on the Mona Lisa poetry challenge page now with comment:- ) So glad you joined in!

  4. […] Our 6th poem is by Adam Dustus – who has a wonderful blog, full of poems, writings and very clever and inspirational photography!  Find him HERE […]

  5. But of course. Why didn’t anyone ever think of that? Riddle solved. Thank you.

  6. Just one possibility of many. thanks

  7. that would’ve been a wonderful reason to smile so serene..

  8. Wonderful One Stop feature today, Claudia 🙂

  9. Indeed a clever twist to a classic image…I was quite surprised when I saw the real painting in Paris…much smaller than I had thought.

  10. Now I have to go see it one of these days! Haven’t been to many art museums. I’ve a lot to learn and enjoy. Cheers, Charles

  11. Thought provoking this one Adam…very clever take, hmmm 🙂 Hugs xx

  12. Hi Amanda. Always good to see you. Glad to have found you on twitter the other day 🙂 hugs

  13. Now there’s a thought. I like it.

  14. That would explain a lot. Very nice 🙂

  15. i have always found the monalisa smile mysteriously inspiring Adam, you captured one deep level of that little lines you brilliantly excelled! great one shot my friend..:) Da Vinci would’ve been so proud..:)

  16. Now I am thinking, she could have been pregnant, with that pregnancy glow.. Oneshot nice work

  17. She’s lovely and she does glow, but the glow comes to fruition in The Madonna of the Rocks at The National Gallery London. There the figures are fully realized and the rendering breathtaking indeed. The Mona Lisa, like a pop star, too hard to get close to. But you did a wonderful job with this work and your take may just be spot on.

  18. Very nice. Perhaps that does explain the smile, but perhaps not. We can only wonder.

  19. betweenhearts75 Says:

    Excellent OneShot Adam, when my mind wanders over many historical artists, so much passes of the placement. I do agree she could perhaps have been carrying a child…so fascinating, I love your words and how they play into this so well recognized figure.

    The smile to me just seems so solemn and distant, as though looking past the painter, rather uncomfortably.

    Maybe she doesn’t view herself in that same glow as the artist sees within her, and tries to bring to the surface in his work.

    We all have something we don’t like about ourselves, or an unsurity in some part (even men can tend to do this I’m sure :)) Women of today cover the gray with color to the hair, or attempt dieting to maintain a certain body size….the list goes on….No matter this but it seems evident that the artist held her of great beauty.

    Truly lovely! ~ April 🙂

  20. beautiful poem. powerful words…”Her eyes couldn’t help but glow
    Knowing what he didn’t know”
    hinting at the mystery of this great painting and its elusive subject that has beguiled great minds for centuries. Love it.
    as with the best of poetry your word probe life’s meanings with new and intriguing questions…
    terrific one shot!

  21. ladynimue Says:

    Looks like many of us think the same 😉 you said really subtly and with all simplicity that is your trade mark !!

  22. Such was one of many rumors. Excellent One Shot. Here is my contribution to One Shot this week – The Touch.

  23. ah a little mystery behind the muse eh? smiles. nice one shot dustus!

  24. Sweet, witty, elegant. Excellent. 🙂

  25. Wow great poem! I loved your thoughts about the great Mona Lisa. Also a great addition to One Shot.

  26. Your reading of your entries always adds so much to the effect…
    You are a Great Writer Dustus, you do Michigan PROUD!

  27. Wonderful, Dustus; and I always enjoy being able to hear the words, too.

    The painting recently was cleaned up and the background is now more revealed, though not necessarily revealing.

  28. I love it! What a perfect explanation for her smile.

    Mine is here.

  29. Slick, very slick. superb. Mona, Mona, Mona.

  30. Oh wonderful! I still remember when I was young, I was named mona lisa because my eye brow was so thin XD excellent work!=P

  31. This is different than your usual fare Adam, but I like it. You just might have something there too…

  32. An interesting look at a classic. Lovely little piece–always entertaining to ponder what secrets lie beneath.

  33. moondustwriter Says:

    Ahhh poetic license at it’s best.

    That smile hides some secret

    Nice One Shot Adam

    secret moonie smiles

  34. Quite imaginative, your thoughts…nicely said.

  35. Lovely poem on Mona Lisa, Adam. Of course that must be the reason behind the smile.

  36. I really liked your take on the famous smile, dustus! Enjoyed it very much!

  37. Amazing way to look at the Mona Lisa….nice one shot..bkm

  38. Smiling..nice and imaginative Adam. The smile riddle has been solved 🙂

  39. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Glynn Young, Adam Dustus, Adam Dustus, Adam Dustus, Adam Dustus and others. Adam Dustus said: Knowing What He Didn't Know: […]

  40. You might have found a huge piece to the puzzle of the Mona Lisa and Leonardo mystery. This challenge sounds like fun and I like her style. 🙂

  41. Oh… how I love that smile…

    great One Shot!!


  42. Love this! Can’t think of a better reason for that smile.

  43. this is a very interesting take on the challenge.
    Leo gonna be a daddy.
    i wonder who his descendants are

  44. Adam, you do such a great job with these challenges. I love it!

  45. That is so clever. I loved it. It gave me goosebumps, I loved the way you developed the concept through to the denoument. Brilliant! :O)

  46. The secret of Mona Lisa’s smile is simple: DaVinci’s fly was open.

  47. ROFL! thanks, E

  48. A fine explanation for the enigmatic smile.

  49. Cool take on the prompt……..well done!

  50. So many legends about DaVinci and the Mona Lisa. If I have time, I might just give this a shot. Yours is so well-conceived. (pun intended)

  51. This is great, Adam. I always knew she had a secret she wasn’t sharing.

  52. I smiled at this one. I see that slight smile, and think, “yes, she’s pregnant, as soon as the artist is finished, she’s going to tell him.”

    • OMG If that had happened, I’d love to see what his self-portrait would look like the moment she tells him… awesome, Glynn 🙂

  53. Ah!! I always knew there was something more powerful than just the very “talked-about” smile!

    Did you know they also say that it is Davinci himself when he was young?? He made the world a fool before…

    • hadn’t heard that about it being himself when young. You just made my brain spin….hmm. Thank you, Lu Ann 🙂

  54. I’ve often wondered what is she half smiling about. I saw the original over the summer but she wouldn’t tell me her secrets either! I mis read her stubble smile and that made me giggle. Thinking of Lisa with a bit of hairy lip. Anyways I digress lol (as usual!) Loved it, and it’s good to see what other people think she may or may not have had on her mind 🙂

  55. That is lovely! I like your take.

  56. very clever, very , very clever…that really was ingenious my friend

  57. I suspected she had rotten teeth. 🙂

  58. Very good & original idea. I like it.

  59. Absolutly every single aspect of this post is wonderful! I dig the prompt, the poem, and the story created!! I think you hit the nail on the head with this one!

  60. Thank you, Annie. Lynda provides amazing prompts. You should try! Or the Van Gogh one. That was fun too. Give it a shot 🙂

  61. I saw this painting with my own eyes long ago …stood before it among a restless crowd in Paris at age 17. It’s tiny in person;) …That’s the first surprise. But second, you do notice the smile…a secret it seems, behind those lips. As a person who much prefers answers to questions, things tied up neatly with a bow, happy endings and closure ;)…. I found your interpretation…satisfying. 🙂

    • Shell, your comment means a great deal to me. I feel like I don’t know much about art outside of writing, but I’m learning. Your wisdom always helps. I’m humbled by your friendship 🙂

  62. Great One! Genius… Beautiful way to give words to that smile, looking a bit closer… that might just be the case 🙂

  63. Thank you, laurelme. The more I’ve been considering what everyone else has mentioned, can’t help but throw my hands in the air and say she’s all that and a bag of chips 🙂

  64. There’s been a rumor about(couple of hundred years) that the Mona is Leo in drag. Mr. Mischief…Anyway I really like your elegant’s so life affirming!

  65. Intriguing!As intriguing as the Lady ,herself!Very nice piece!Love it!

    Thanks for dropping by on my side,too!

  66. I never looked at it that way before, but I do believe you’re on to something. 🙂

  67. cool
    awesome poem 🙂

  68. I never thought of that before. You think? Now I do. Love this.

  69. No wonder! Her smiles does convey something like that!


  70. Appreciate all the feedback. A fun One Shot this week! yay

  71. Very deep right here. Love what you did with it. Love and Light, Sender

  72. Hey, Dustus! My kiddo did a report on the Mona Lisa last year. I guess her teeth were black, thus not showing. Mona’s I mean, not my kiddo. So my little one read,anyway.

    Ah, yes, we women and our secrets. 🙂 🙂


  73. Hey Jannie. I think Kelly deserves an A+ for that one! 🙂

  74. just fabulous adam, you have eyes full of tenderness. you gave a new look to monalisa.

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