Mademoiselle Boissière

“. . .roses dizzied her with summer. . .”

Ekphrasis is poetry is based on works of art.  I love this kind of writing.  This poem is based on “Mademoiselle Boissière Knitting” by Gustave Caillebotte.


She sits alone
knitting for Sophie’s baby,
expected in the spring.
She doesn’t think of Sophie baring
herself for a man, as she did once,
when roses dizzied her with summer,
how easy her petticoats lifted, how
afterwards they smelled of blood
and sweat, how she stumbled,
pushed the bolt to lock the door,
how those smells return
when she sees him in the square,
squiring his wife on errands
and feels her heart loose
in its stays.

– Sarah Russell
First published in Ekphrastic Review

12 thoughts on “Mademoiselle Boissière

  1. wow – and i think i have been doing this with my class for years. i always have shown the 4 and 5 year olds a picture of mona lisa without any story behind it. they look at it and tell me a story of what and who they think she/he is. they are amazing tales. after, i tell them what we know about the painting and the artist and share their pieces with each other. they are always wonderful. many of them dictate a variation of the same theme – they say it is a woman who just wants to/needs to go away to this beautiful place they see in the background to have some time alone, for a variety of reasons. next year, i’ll have 3, 4, and 5s all together and i’ll try it again with them. their families are always quite surprised.

    Liked by 1 person

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