Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Nude

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Robert Siegel of South Berwick is one of Maine?s most accomplished poets. In today?s poem he describes the encounter with a nude in a museum painting.

Nude by Robert Siegel

Content in her skin she does not challenge
the blue shadow cast over much of her body,
waiting in the shade like a center of gravity,
so full, even the trees have travelled too far.
Her breasts steal the wind with surprise,
promise long savannahs of discovery
beyond the trembling compass of a flower
or tuft of weeds agog with her sweet breath.
I stand in this museum looking,
blood sagging to my fingers and toes.
The sun is coming at me through the wall.
Clothes could never touch her, this one, put
beyond the night whisper and morning?s flat red mouth
into the first turning of the light.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2001 by Robert Siegel. Reprinted from A Pentecost of Finches: New and Selected Poems, Paraclete Press, 2006, by permission of Robert Siegel. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or 207-228-8263.