Self Portrait by Kathe Kollwitz


Monologue by Kamryn Godsey '23

Fall 2021

The Pencil's Artist

She and I are like pencil and paper.

Even closer than paper and I.

She and I are soulmates.

I fill her spirit and she gives mine purpose.

We are wings and wind,

Builder and brick,

God and Earth.

I am dutiful to her and yet,

She makes herself equal to me.

So that I am able to picture who she is, as she is

And nothing more than.


That is what makes us a force,

This familiarity.

This honesty.

I know her.

The true her

I have watched her grow since we first met.

What an instant connection that was.

I still remember when she first placed me between her fingers.

She told me what the world looked like

So I drew it, just how she saw it to be

We took to each other so naturally

An artistic intimacy not nurtured by many of her time


And when her father saw what we made

He became angry

He said to her

How dare you hide what you see

How dare you not show us

How dare you not show me

Keep going

Never stop

The world needs to understand

All the things that cannot be heard

But can only be seen.


I know her face

Just as well as she knows her own

I have seen it in all four seasons





I know the downturns of her mouth in despair

I know the nose that breathes in air

And the mouth that sighs it out.


I have charted every wrinkle on her face

Every hair turned white by strife

And I have etched 1000 tired eyes

Eyes that can no longer bear to see the world go unchanged

I have colored the bags that accompany them

The bags that carry hardship and hurt

Our works are a map of the pain she has witnessed

A collaboration that reveals the landscape of tragedy


But, I am more than her tool

I am her mirror

And when she is uncertain of what she looks like

She holds her face up to me

And I show her.

She looks long and hard at what she is depicted to be

Then she nods

She saves the image for later

And I wait until she calls on me to show her again


And she and I?

We are never far apart

Even in danger and tribulations

She came back to me

She came back for them

For people that she loved even more

But, that never made me envious

I knew others needed her

She is as connected to her fellow man as she is to me

It's through her that I am able to tell stories I had never heard

Paint pictures I did not see

I shared her with the world

And she shared the world with me.

We would accomplish so much together


She showed me heads hung low

Fathers holding mothers

Mothers holding their children

Children holding each other

She showed me eyes without life in them

Bodies without spirits


Then she held me up to the world

And I mirrored it for all to see

She said "this is the world, this is its reflection"

It glanced over and saw what it was depicted to be

It shook its head

And did away with the image


They could not accept what they had become

It had grown hideous and void of its color

That it had hollowed the hearts of people

And robbed the lives of others

It was not prepared to face

The children it had turned its backs on


That was long ago

And still, it was yesterday

Different time

Same place

Humanity stuck in its cruel ways

She told me that is what she feared

A humanity with no compassion

A war with no end

Stories with no one to listen to them

And she decided that could not happen

People must be seen

And their stories must be heard

And so we told them

For those who could not


In many ways, I am her voice

The voice that she could use when words were not enough

I sang her songs of compassion

I screamed her pain

She gave me purpose

She gave me wisdom

Though I am but a piece of wood

I am a chronicler of humanity

An instrument of life

And she, she is my muse.

Self Portrait by Kathe Kollwitz