Julia Caroline Knowlton

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Camille Claudel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Poem for Camille Claudel

Year after year, the bread & cup. The bed.
You stand for many women, kept by men

behind a window, or within God’s womb of stone.
You remain alone though you plead to leave,

cultivating a hope that never bled to believe.
You draw a hand to hold with a stick in dry soil—

your bold vision wasted as night consumes day,
tasting the silence of a sky that tastes of clay.

***
Editor’s Note: This short rhythmic poem deftly laments the loss of artistic talent because of the forced commitment to the mental institution. You can read about the sculptor Camille Claudel here.

***
Julia Caroline Knowlton is Professor of French at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta.
She has an MFA in poetry from Antioch University and a PhD in French Literature
from UNC-Chapel Hill. The author of four books and an Academy of American Poets prize winner, she was named a GA Author of the Year for her 2018 chapbook, The Café of Unintelligible Desire.

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