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Robin Davidson: Mrs. Schmetterling Kneels in a Garden

Mrs. Schmetterling, let’s call her Judith, married.
She is neither great musician nor poet.
Not scientist nor historian. She is ordinary.
Any century’s woman. She cooks, reads, bathes children
and dogs. She takes out the garbage, listens to music.
Mrs. Schmetterling is tired. Her imagination is
pressed like a tiny chestnut blossom between the pages
of old letters and recipes, a book of days.
She would like to give herself advice, chide herself
not simply to feed on the erotic bread of great art,
remain invisible. But she doesn’t. She hesitates,
keeps herself at arm’s length. A practice
she’s learned from her mother. Instead,
she kneels in a garden, breaks open
each amaryllis pod in her palm, peels back
the green triangles of skin forming the bolus
left from the blossom and sprinkles
the black ash of seedlings onto the clay.


From Mrs. Schmetterling by Robin Davidson with artwork by Sarah Fisher (Arrowsmith, 2021)

Houston’s second Poet Laureate (2015-2017), Robin Davidson is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Kneeling in the Dojo and City that Ripens on the Tree of the World, and the full collection, Luminous Other, recipient of the Ashland Poetry Press 2012 Richard Snyder Memorial Publication Prize. The recipient of Fulbright and NEA awards, she is co-translator with Ewa Elzbieta Nowakowska of two volumes of Ewa Lipska’s poems from the Polish, The New Century and Dear Ms. Schubert (Princeton University Press, 2021). She was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in 2019, and teaches literature and creative writing as professor emeritus of English for the University of Houston-Downtown.

Sarah Fisher records the human need to be authentically seen in paintings, drawings and mixed-media works. She has exhibited across the state of Texas, including solo exhibitions at LHUCA (2021) in Lubbock and at Front Gallery (2019) and Art Palace Gallery (2017) in Houston. Fisher’s mixed media work featured prominently in Found/Loaded, a joint exhibition with Rachel Anderson at Stephen F. Austin State University’s Cole Art Center in 2021. A 1986 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she completed the BLOCK Advanced Studio Program at The Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Glassell School in 2018. Fisher lives and works in Houston, Texas.

The Cold Place by Sarah Fisher

2019
Oil, graphite and dry cleaning identification stickers on Arches paper
71 x 51 inches

4 comments on “Robin Davidson: Mrs. Schmetterling Kneels in a Garden

  1. kim4true
    November 17, 2021

    Lovely. My grandmother is in this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth Peyton
    November 15, 2021

    Spectacular. Just what I needed this morning, a reminder that the ordinary is extraordinary…

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 15, 2021 by in Art and Cinema, Environmentalism, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , , .

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