It’s Day 24 of NaPoWriMo and the challenge today is to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. Here you’ll find some characteristic images of rabbits hunting wolves, people sitting on nests of eggs, dogs studiously reading books, and birds wearing snail shells. What can I say? It must have gotten quite boring copying out manuscripts all day, so the monks made their own fun. Hopefully, the detritus of their daydreams will inspire you as well!

Here’s my own interpretation of the snail art of the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. I completely enjoyed writing it. Hope you enjoy it too 🙂


Ekphrasis is what has been prompted to write

marginalia of medieval manuscript to be precise

so let’s explore the medieval times

their margins and their rhymes

What an interesting piece of art

to covert in margins as clipart

it will tickle and shiver your bones

to see animals in all gnomes

It makes me bite my nail

to picture the powers of snail

it’s not an animal so frail as

marginalia has a different tale




Oh! Look at that valiant snail

fighting the armored knight

he seems to be puffing air

to knock the knight out of sight




Here he strikes again

eyeing with his tentacles

Oh! Is it “An eye for an eye”

the knight appears in fright




The mighty snail is flying

embodying chivalry

the armored man on knees

pleading to set him free




Now this is an interesting tale

rabbit riding a human headed snail

but wait, who’s the opponent

a dog riding a rabbit impotent!




What a turn of events sets in

snail has befriended man

No, let me take a closer look

it’s snail in love with a woman!