by Annette Snyckers

What I really wanted
was the forest,
that fecund place –
it smelled of damp decay –
where spots of sunlight sifted
through the green of spring.

I took it for myself,
let suspicion fall
where it may –
after all,
they left it in the shed,
perhaps they didn’t
even care.

Just before I fall
asleep, I can almost hear
the wind in the trees,
the rustling leaves –

the painting hangs
above my bed.



Madame Matisse

by Liz Trew

Mon Dieu! Matisse – the master of colour…
my fluttering fan and oval face
a riot of pinks and greens in Woman with the Hat.

I am dressed as a matador in The Guitarist.
He kicked his easel and ripped off my costume
as I wouldn’t sit still. Later we laughed about that.

I sit demure, elegant in another hat
then I emerge as Madame Matisse
a bold-green line dividing my face.

Mostly he liked me in black and white
to balance his clashing explosions of colour
while I endured outbursts of another sort –
his doubting, weeping, violent self.

He began to paint nudes – vermilion dancers
and a Blue Nude with Straw Hat. A huge Pink Nude
almost falls in my lap.

He moved to the silvery light of Nice. I saw him less and less.
During the war I joined the Resistance
while he painted paradise in his appartement

rearranging his voluptuous models and nudes
and tending his beloved birds:
the long black plumage of widow birds,
the blinding whiteness of his doves.

Still life with flag

by Elizabeth Trew

Naturaleza muerte con bandera (after Frida Kahlo)

I am painting myself as the fruit
Diego picked from my garden this morning
and laid beside my wounded self

lifting myself up to the easel
hoisted above my severed leg
and fractured spine

painting strokes with my sable brush
hot- coloured melons and citrus
I am round and ripe

heavy with child, my breasts swollen
with milk, my melon seeds
black inside blood-red flesh

the orange cut of my damaged sex
rests on Diego’s yellow fruit

against a deep jade sky
I have planted the Mexican flag
on my tender fruit

I am luscious