Rodin and Claudel

                        And God will pardon Paul Claudel

                        Although he sent Camille to hell.

 

Artists sleep with their models and paint

Their lovers, fall in love and fall again.

Women are always in their lives.

Art needs love, as life needs rain.

 

When he ascends to that white-hot space

Where the Gods control his hands,

Prudence (that rich, ugly old maid)

Does not exist in his universe.

Painting after painting flows through his fingers

When he turns from his easel, love

Is not an option; it is inevitable.

His lover drinks his overflowing power.

 

Their life’s a collage of trysts and secrets,

A tapestry of myths, vacationing in Candyland.

But in the end she cannot live

In the furnace where

The Tyger’s brain is forged.

Someday he’ll have a new model

And life comes second.

 

So she returns to where she lives,

To husband, children, work.

But she thinks of him

And, sometimes, still loves him.

 

And all you Philistines,

Is it more important

That he slept with your wife

Or that he made her

Immortal?


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