Reflections on Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World
All eyes are focused on her
the woman in the foreground of outstretched earth
weakened limbs crawling towards her horizon
I stand among the crowd and see a young girl in that painting
one who longed to be invisible
all those years when she sat shivering at her desk
other eyes locked on the leg braces the orthopedic shoes
In her world a dance resonated within and her feet never stopped moving
so she learned to fill blank sheets of paper with language
small knotted fingers working diligently as she merged herself to each page
her world as wide as she could make it
courage her mantra.
When it was her time to cross the horizon
the wheelchair with all its struggles was cast aside
its spokes radiating a golden brilliance that shattered sunlight
her time now to walk the seven shades of rainbow
and dance in that pair of ballroom shoes
the shoes she had always wished for.
I turn away from the painting knowing it will pull me back as it always does
Some of the crowd move closer to view as much as they can of Christina’s World
I look through this window of humanity, the framed masterpiece
and see someone else’s world
another woman my mother.
Helen Leslie Sokolsky
Helen Leslie Sokolsky's poems have appeared in a number of publications including The California Poetry Quarterly, Poet Lore, The Poetry Review PSA Confrontation, POEM, and The Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. Forthcoming works will appear in Seven Circle Press and Poetry Quarterly. Her chapbook of poems Two Sides of a Ticket was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014 and she has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice. In 2016 she was a finalist in the Atlanta Review's International Poetry Competition. A retired New York City special education teacher Helen lives with her husband in upper Manhattan near Fort Tryon Park “I am so appreciative of our proximity to the beautiful art and music in the Cloisters and weather permitting I try to walk through the gardens whenever possible, an inspiration for much of my writing.”
8/25/2018 12:16:47 am
Thank you mom for writing a beautiful poem about our grandmother. She was an amazing woman, who never let the braces on her legs get her down, at least not in front of her six grandchildren. We were lucky to have her in our lives.
8/26/2018 10:39:54 pm
What a moving tribute to a mother for the multiple years she bravely endured such a struggle. This was written with dignity, grace and hope. Well done.
8/30/2018 03:05:08 pm
Thank you Nani for a Great poem. I love you, Your Poems. Your Love, Papa. and Of course: YOU!
8/30/2018 09:10:46 pm
A beautiful poem and tribute! When i was young i saw the painting, Christina's World as a reproduction ( Time magazine? the Milwaukee journal?) I was so moved; until then i didn't know that a picture could represent such profound feeling. I am not sure exactly what it represented but i know i was a changed person after seeing it.
10/4/2018 09:52:27 pm
What a beautiful poem--really enjoyed reading it!
10/8/2018 07:54:02 pm
Dear Helen, I met your mother a few times in my youth, I was so in awe of her three lovely daughters and the elegant home she created. Through her shear strength of force and determination I I never even considered her struggles .
Joan Van Lowe
10/19/2018 04:47:56 pm
Helen, it is an honor to call you a friend. Your skills in portraying the feelings that the painting demands is inspiring.
4/3/2019 10:16:39 am
I am so touched by this beautiful poem. Art continues to
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