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Here They Come!
Alarie Tennille


                                  Penguins from the Kansas City Zoo recently paid a visit to the nearby Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art…
                                                                                                                            , May 21,

Tiny tourists in tuxedos burst
into the galleries.

The paintings look down from their frames,
silently chuckling. They miss visitors
as much as these new Friends of Art,
who gawk back at them
with equal wonder.

The zoo guests prove to be
discerning critics. Water lilies?
Not part of their habitat.
But John the Baptist?
Him they can relate to.

Caravaggio captures the fatigue
of a tired dad, trying to keep up
with toddlers. Drooping in the heat,
he sits slumped, splayed legs,
happy to stay right there,
watching them for hours.

From Three A.M. at the Museum (Kelsay Books, 2021).
Used here with permission.


Alarie Tennille was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia. A Phi Beta Kappa, she graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class that admitted women. Alarie and her husband, graphic artist Chris Purcell, live in Kansas City, Missouri, where she serves on the emeritus board of The Writers Place. Alarie believes her writing skills were born from her parents’ knack for storytelling–long, meandering tales she asked to hear again and again. “There was usually dance music in the background,” she says, “the sounds of cicadas, and the clink of ice in glasses of sweet tea. Weekends brought rolling surf, laughing gulls, and the calliopes of amusement park rides.” Alarie’s third and most recent poetry collection is Three A.M. at the Museum. She was honored to receive a 2020 Fantastic Ekphrastic Award from The Ekphrastic Review. Learn more about her at



Post New Comment:
Love this visit to the museum along with these tuxedo'd visitors! Fun poem, Alarie.
Posted 04/08/2024 09:15 PM
Alarie Tennille:
Thank you all for your kind words. I recognize several of you as regulars on YDP. Thanks, of course, to Jayne most of all.
Posted 04/08/2024 12:44 PM
Wilda Morris:
Delightful poem!
Posted 04/07/2024 04:09 PM
Yes, I agree with Larry--thanks for taking us to the museum to see ALL of the extraordinary art!
Posted 04/07/2024 01:51 PM
Lori Levy:
Entertaining, love the humor in this poem.
Posted 04/07/2024 01:49 PM
Larry Schug:
Thanks for taking me to the museum. You never know what you might see there.
Posted 04/07/2024 12:01 PM
Your wonderfully worded image poem brought a smile to my face and starting my day with a smile. Thank you!
Posted 04/07/2024 10:45 AM
Alarie Tennille:
Thank you, Sharon Waller Knutson, for your kind words.
Posted 04/07/2024 09:39 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
This sparse photographic sensual poem is adorable and charming and why I am an Alarie Tennille fan. I love how she personifies the penguins and the paintings and uses the metaphor of the dad watching the children for hours so I can relate.
Posted 04/07/2024 08:32 AM

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