The Woolgatherings of Camille Claudel

With one hand he caressed my back.

With the other he slaps my face away.

Into the mud, apart from me.

I want to be whole.

He is a thief that tears me apart.


And as I find my middle, my heart, my clear mind, my vocation,


They all assemble and mount me like maggots,


With cheap beaks and malignancy, climbing on top of my own flesh.


I’m all over the place, all over, everywhere, too loud, he says.


He wants me incarcerated and that’s what he does, in his name, my body.

What have I done?

Have I dared to dream and to act?

I want to see my sculptures rise.

Rise with me against my confinement.

I was left in the dark as he died and I knew nothing.

And she kept me there, unseen, unvisited, me.


Years go by.

And you leave me here, why, oh, why?

Paul, I see you a few times only.

Louise, you came to see me once.

Brother, you speak of me in the past tense.

What have I done?

Why do you treat me like this?

Am I undeserving of love?

Have I already died in your hearts?

You forced me into the shadows where my words are not heard.

What is it, Paul?

You are stealing my life from me, my hands, my expression.

You mutilating force, you grave robber, Paul.


Yes, I destroyed what I created, don’t I have the right?


Yes, I screamed and cried and a woman I was, full-heartedly,


Now, that’s my crime, isn’t it?


The female chiseller, a threat to you.

Thirty years you kept me at bay.

And I must not be sick.

I must not be sick.

Not at all.


At all.

Does it even matter?

You condemned me to death and anonymity.

Orphaned in my grave.

I lost everything.

And you took and took, you vampire.

But I must not be sick.

And I perfect what I destroy and recreate what I leave behind.


Photograph of the French sculptor and graphic artist Camille Claudel (1864-1943)





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