“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” -Pablo Picasso
Weeping Woman, Pablo Picasso (1937)
Even my hat mocks me laughing on the inside of my grief –
My twisted mouth and gnashing teeth, my fingers fat and clumsy as if they were still wearing those gloves – the bloodstained ones you keep.
What has happened to the pupils of my eyes, Picasso?
Why do I deserve such deformity?
What am I now if not a cross between a clown and a broken piece of crockery?
- Part II, Grace Nichols
We only read parts of this poem in class but it really tugged at my heartstrings. The interlocking parts of the poem seem to take us through the various layers of the woman's consciousness. The tone ranges from sardonic to self-deprecating, as colorful as the various colors used in the poem's symbolisms.
Like the Guardian article which praised Nichols' distinctly 'cubist' attempt to reclaim one of Picasso's muses as her own woman, I admire this poem for its frank tone and how it actually manages to give deeper insight to a painting which might not even have had such depth in the first place.
The demanding voice of the woman in her journey of self-reclamation is beautifully touching, as she requests with unending determination, "Picasso, I want my face back/the unbroken geography of it."
The voice is powerful and resonates in me. Definitely one of my favorite poems in Lit class so far!