Hilda Goldwag’s Mirth
Hitler wanted you to die, or failing that, to fall
into a hell of suffering. And you did, wandering
the canal with boards and oils, painting industrial
decay, faces lined with trapped world-weariness.
Then out she burst from deep in you, this girl,
rollicking on her haunches, smiling
at the future, even as behind her naked back,
flames rage and crack in a holocaust of hate.
Featherless phoenix, birthed from grief,
she is a life-force eager to escape
the borders that confine, to leap,
laughing from the frame.
Her innocence, her mirth, her hopefulness
your sweet revenge, your antidote to pain.
A Scottish poet, Magi Gibson has held several Scottish Arts Council Fellowships and a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship. Her sixth full length collection will be published this year.
Hilda Goldwag was born in Vienna in 1912. She was on holiday in Scotland when war broke out in 1939. Her entire family was wiped out by the Nazis. She never returned. Trained as an artist, she worked in various practical jobs, then as an old woman, she took up her paints again. She never had a studio, but was often seen in Glasgow walking or getting on and off buses with her shopping trolley loaded with oil paints and boards. On her death many of her paintings were almost destroyed by the Cleansing Department. Her work has since been exhibited and recognized.
The Ekphrastic Review
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