David Hickman

Kathe Kollwitz

The poor are lost

to everything but hope.

Thatís what suffering is for--

to remind us of the faces inscribed

on our hearts.

Thatís why I drew

directly on the stone.

The stone is more ancient

than all our hunger.

It holds the image

as if it were a God

and we were little tin figures

crowded into a peasantís room

or weeping into

air of a perpetual yellow cast

over the cries of the child

oppressed by

. . . poverty

that ďcircumstanceĒ

of means

that is created by wealth.

Needless to say,

the bourgeois did not interest me.

I preferred to

describe the figure

in a starkness

of line

and the crowded dark rooms

of our failed aspirations.

. . .When I was forbidden

by the Naziís to exhibit again,

I did not leave Germany

like so many others did.

Itís true there are poor everywhere,

but I stayed with my own,

In the plain little house

with its thick feather-bed

where I had trembled

so terribly after painting

my self-portrait,

the day they told me

my son was dead.