Sharon Cramer

 

 

 

These poems are from a group of poems called "The Helga Series," 
originating from the Helga paintings of Andrew Wyeth.



 

Suspicion

Like a sickening smell in a locked-up house is everywhere the minute you open the door

“Open all the windows”

“Open the door”

“I can’t stand this smell”

“What is it?”

Your doubts surround me

 

“Why were you out there so long?”

“What are you working on?”

“How are you doing on that portrait?  You promised it for next month.”

You are worried

that I have lost it

that I can’t paint anymore

that I am sitting out there

that I am

thinking about what to do

and doing nothing

 

Nothing could be further from the truth
but I am unable to tell you

about Helga

today, she was asleep

in the sunlight

and the sun on her skin

I think I captured it

but I know that

nothing human ever could

 

I’ve never touched her – wanted to touch her

Just capture her

with clothes

without clothes

smiling

in that green coat

in the woods

in the house

for a moment

knowing she can never be captured

by me

or anyone else

 

Like the smell makes you want

to rush outside and gulp fresh air
your suspicions follow me everywhere

while I rinse my brushes

while I stretch my canvases

while I create my log of

what I painted

when

how long it took

 

Airing out the house takes time

Repairing your trust will take time

We are laughing and loving

but (just like the smell when you open a forgotten closet)

you are watching me

 

There’s nothing to see

but you keep watching

 

I’ll tell you about her

soon

I’m just not ready yet





 

Helga’s Song

 

I dream

            he is watching me

I dream

            the green Loden coat goes up in flames

I dream

            I am standing outside against a tree and I will never be warm again

 

I knew what I was doing

when we started

but 233 pictures later

all blurs into just this

            he is watching me

            I like it





Copyright
© 2011 Sharon Cramer

 

 

Sharon Cramer, Ph.D., a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor at Buffalo State College, was an academic leader and scholar for 26 years before returning to poetry. She is the author of three scholarly books and 25 articles. Dr. Cramer has given over 100 presentations and keynotes in 23 states and two provinces in Canada. She completed her Ph.D. studies at New York University, earned an M.A.T. degree from Harvard University, and a B. A. from Tufts University.