Egon Schiele’s Self-Portrait (1911) (a poem)

My warm-up for NaPoWriMo 2021 is this ekphrastic poem based on Egon Schiele’s Self-Portrait (1911).

Within the confines
of my outline
I am a contortionist

limbs twisted and folded
like the torso
to which they attach

and the eyes
which have minds of their own

or the skin
which follows contours
but minds no master

and the mouth, agape
which has not yet learnt
to speak directly

If you stare at me long enough
you may see a figure, turned

in a striking pose, even

about to disappear
or looking for an arm somewhere

waiting to resurface
somewhere in 1984
as a ritual echo
in gold on black
on the back of the cutout Revox

Hmh, you’ll say
as you flip the page
and turn away from my grief

(31 March 2021)



Public-domain image downloaded from


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