Melancholy Woman

In her new book of poems, Reviewing the Skull (WordTech Editions), Judy Rowe Michaels has written the following “To Picasso’s Melancholy Woman“:

I want to sink into the deep-blue shadow

that falls across your cheek as you turn away

from us and the window, your throat funneling dark

heavier blue into shoulders that carry sorrow

down to the chest’s concavity. Let me

hide where the gathered blue finally

goes black–in your lap. Empty madonna,

you cradle melancholy, but its shapeless weight

spills out of the frame.

My fear’s distilled

to one dark spot so small, under the x-ray’s blue,

it tells us nothing yet but watchful waiting. Almost

what you and I do here, you nursing

at invisible breasts some loss

not even your painter knows, that can’t

grow less or deeper than the paint allows.

All you can do is watch for me to give

your pooled blues the weight of mortal fear.

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1 Response to Melancholy Woman

  1. Dear Ilene,

    Thank you profoundly for honoring Judy’s poem and finding this haunting work of Picasso’s to show your readers how her words evoke the art and vice versa.

    I heard Judy read to her peers at PDS last week, to a full room in every sense there is… late light pouring in through forced forsythia, creating a halo around Judy’s own bright head, as she read her fine strong work, this premier among them.

    Her new book is a blockbuster, in terms of distillation and power.

    Thank you for knowing how very special is the work, is this poet, and above all – as PDS peers demonstrated — this outSTANDing teacher.

    Judy was my daughters’ favorite English teacher in their PDS years – and they are by no means alone. Even the other teachers told me this, before the reading, about their own children…

    We are so blessed that Judy has been spared, and that she turns her challenges into art.

    As did Picasso!



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