To my mother, the painter

The way you talked of Cézanne
and Paula Modersohn
we kids expected them
to walk in any time and
join us for lunch, tea or dinner.

It took us a few years
of growing up to realize
they were long dead.

But I’m not sure now
what is more alive
to my sister and me –

the naive image of
these artists as friends
we simply had not yet seen
or their paintings
we saw later in books
and museums.

Author’s note

My mother, the painter Marianne Plocher (1920-2009), largely gave up painting when she got married and had children. Paul Cézanne and Paula Modersohn-Becker were among the artists she admired most.

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