Back in the mid-90s, I wrote some poems to indulge my love of wordplay, which also served as helpful venting. Some of them were published in various periodicals from 1993-96. I was going to publish them as a book called Divinations, but circumstance intervened.

Maybe just as well. Out of the 25 poems, I can share five of them now with minimal embarrassment. The rest are all more personal, obsolete or just plain weird than I care to share now, though I still like to scatter quotes from some of them here and there.

So here we go, in the order they were written. First up is Camille Claudel. The 1988 film, starring Isabelle Adjani, totally blew me away, and I immediately read up on Camille and got into her work. There were no words to describe her impact on me. Then there were. Here they are:

Camille Claudel, age 19Camille Claudel

Feverish, cascading rain –
  your tears or mine?
Haunt me in every downpour I embrace
Clouded eyes bathing, kissing, reminding me

Original admiration amaze me
Marble never breathed, sighed, wept before
Open raw dangerous crazy ecstasy denied
  illumines my longing as well

Your Waltz, soaring yet grounded
Ineffable as Venus’ voice
  yet rooted in tangible body
Voluptuous presence, passion scarred invisibility
Why? what unnatural joy?
  who dares say?

You were when I was –
  a child of delight
No housemaid, no beauteous myth –
  your own reality
Solitary flame in a dull men’s world

Prayer by Camille ClaudelWoman of recorded history, your figures
  echo for acceptance, for recognition
You give her tears a face,
  her sighs a body achingly real
All in your piercing eyes –
  wistful melancholy driven defiance

I can see you wrestling
  that clay head with passion
Face smeared with wet clammy streaks
  only to dry and crack later
Shall I remember meeting you?
Was it I you clasped so feverishly!

Your poor smashed children
  lost to us all
Am I your Giganti, with no one
  to drag my chipped and pitted head
    clear of your frustration?

I rage and mourn your fate,
  my breath ragged, sobs half-finished
Thirty years caged!
Crime beyond words
  beyond rage
    beyond even revenge
Your shame an infamous shadow
  on History itself

Your impassioned conviction shape me –
        frightful Muse
Revered light sorceress of shadow

Camille Claudel!
Where is your world?
Why had so much to be unreal?
Beloved! shall I join you?


La Valse by Camille Claudel

La Valse - photo by Scott Lanphere