Self Portrait by Kathe Kollwitz
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,
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
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
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.