Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Monday, April 07, 2008

#7 I See My Aunt

I see my aunt in your eyes, that
startling Swedish blue, sometimes ice,
always a cigarette emphasizing her words.
She studied psychology, painted dead leaves gold,
and knew so much about all of us.
Sometimes only her words
held me together.

Long before women were artists, she painted
self-portraits with staring eyes.
Hemmingway and Picasso were her heroes,
though neither of them treated women well.

She was of the generation of women
who survived World War II,
Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, Hitler, and Mussolini.
She was the second daughter,
dutiful, steady, married often and not well,
yet painting those marvelous bold abstracts
well into her eighties,
each line an argument for being
I still see.


  1. she sounds like she was a very interesting woman...i loved the beginning of this poem "i see my aunt in your eyes.." that first line captured me and held me until the last perfect end. nicely done....

  2. Anonymous7:15 PM

    Thank you for reading and commenting, Rebecca. I found this poem difficult to write though it helped me reflect on the relationship. I appreciate your affirming note. Beth

  3. Very, very good poem. It brings your aunt to vivid life.

  4. Yes! You also painted with bold and compelling strokes.

    A lady I would have liked to have known.

  5. Anonymous3:59 AM

    Yes, they were quite a generation - the aunt I've written about also survived WWII. I agree that the opening with the 'startling Swedish blue, sometimes ice' is very good - so concrete - it brings her immediately to life.

  6. Anonymous10:36 PM

    I really like this! Like above, the beginning catches reader's attention; the last lines are very strong as well.