“Wilhelmina” by Kyle Potvin

Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2020: Artist’s Choice


Old by Dominique Dève

Image: “Old” (acrylic on paper, 24x32cm, 2018) by Dominique Dève. “Wilhelmina” was written by Kyle Potvin for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, December 2020, and selected as the Artist’s Choice.

[download: PDF / JPG]


Kyle Potvin


Back home, behind some books: a portrait frame,
her painted face. None left to share a clue
to family history, her maiden name
is lost to me. She looks at me askew

as if to dare, “Know me.” Somehow I do
when I say her name. Wil, from William, but
feminine, whispering desire. Helm, too,
offers hints: protection, as in helmet.

Once, forehead lined as ancient text, she gave
me a ruby ring—too big for my hand.
In church, I’d watch the facets spark, feel brave,
gold band a shield. Perhaps that’s what she planned.

She is Madonna with her telling stare.
I say her single name for strength, a prayer.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
December 2020, Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, Dominique Dève: “The poem corresponds well to my state of mind when I painted this portrait.”

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