All Dressed Up
I recall her as one of my students
dashing to the shop for more turps,
wearing a dirty painter’s smock
and grinning at people who grumbled
as she ran past. Women painters.
Whatever next? Bad as actresses.
They weren’t far wrong. She loved
to disguise herself in fancy dress,
as anything but a good Prussian girl.
Best of all was the time she played
the part of a half-pissed barmaid
and not a single person knew her.
That boldness showed in her work .
Isn’t it clear in this self-portrait?
Shoulders squared, she’s wearing
a professor’s frock coat; one hand
grasps a lapel; one eyebrow raised,
she’s asking herself what next?
Working from Home
At one end of the dining table
I made space for ink and acid,
pens and copper plates, wax
and needles, blocks of paper.
I planned work around meals
until the baby came. His needs
took up so much of my day
I had none left for myself
so when I started this picture
my ideas were a constant itch:
marks I could make, to show
death’s bony fingers reaching
for a mother, how candlelight
might shine on her thin face.
I fitted the work in late at night,
oil lamp radiant, baby asleep,
the city’s bustle stilled to the clop
of a cab-horse, a distant bark,
the crack of wood in my stove.
Woman with Orange
I draw her face
in the lamplight,
mantle and shade
in umber darkness;
decide if her eyes
should be unfocussed
or gaze downcast;
think how to show
that an orange's scent
is filling the room
as stifling warmth
i.m. Käthe Kollwitz and Hugo Heller
what did you mean
when you wrote about
your dream of him
it was lebhaft
you said und schön
were your bodies
tautening to climax
its own pleasure
or were you folded
into each other
so quiet and close
his breath stirred
a lock of your hair
Sharon Phillips started writing poems when she retired from her career in education. Since then, her work has appeared in many print and online journals and anthologies, including Places of Poetry, Poetry Birmingham, Raceme, About Larkin, The Poetry Society Newsletter, Atrium, The Clearing, One Hand Clapping, Ink Sweat and Tears, The High Window and previously in The Ekphrastic Review.
The Ekphrastic Review
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