“The Family” by William Virgil Davis

William Virgil Davis


after the painting by Egon Schiele

Only the child,
between his mother’s massive legs,
is clothed.

They both look off
to the right
at something out of sight.

The father, above
and behind, his huge limbs
framing them,

and proud—directly
at you.

Nothing in the background matters.

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004


William Virgil Davis: “My poem is based on Egon Schiele’s painting ‘Die Familie,’ his last important picture, painted in the year he died. The last line of the poem is crucial, and it indicates what I think of art—poetry and painting—share, that, indeed, ‘Nothing in the background matters.’ The poems or paintings are the life.” (web)

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