about Egon Schiele's wife


Edith Schiele

He drew her. 
And she saw it. 
And she smiled.

He drew her and hung it outside of his window for the whole world to see.

So Edith became his whole world
and she saw it.

Saw the man that people whispered about.
The artist.

This man with demons in his fingers. 
She saw the heaven they could kiss onto canvas. 

She saw it all
Saw that he had been in jail
That he had had another lover
That he had been ridiculed and run out of town
And now, that he had drawn her

And how with one line captured her curly red hair and her pounding red heart
She saw it all from the start. 

Tortured artist and the man at peace behind the paint brush
His past failure and his future hope
Edith saw and loved them both

But her family was blind.
Didn't understand why their love looked like it did when it was scratched across his canvas in kind,
couldn't see the beauty in the plain way he painted her,
couldn't see his eyes burning when Edith whispered that she loved him,
a different language for each ear.
Didn't see how her choice was so clear.

Edith always did. 
And then the fame came. 

And with it the models with their perfect skin
The pictures of women opening themselves up to him
The sex
The sin
But in the end. 
He would always draw her.

And again, she saw it. 
The the extra layer of love applied only to her picture. 
How his angry analytical eyes softened when she became their focus. 
How she was the muse for so much more then his art.
Inspiring movements in the man and delicate touches in his heart.

So when his country called, 
Two voices answered. 
And she followed him to war. 
and she let him paint her in the studio they made out of abandoned buildings and the kindness of commanding officers

Watched him draw pictures of Russian prisoners
and never once thought about what they had in common.
Never once thought of how they were both trapped in such an ugly place because he could always make even that beautiful. 

And she saw it
So when they got back she gave him a son. 
Or she tried too. 

But it was the summer of the Spanish flu,
and even though the war was over Europe wasn't done dying.

So what started out as morning sickness lasted until her day was done. 
Waking up from fever dreams only long enough to see the same thing
He was drawing her. 

And Edith saw it. 
And Edith smiled. 
And Edith left.

So Edith's artist began to draw again.
Gripping his pencil even as the same death gripped him.
His final breath drawing closer he drew his reason for breathing in the first place.
He drew one line that captured curly red hair and a beating red heart. 

Not dying until his work was done. 
And when he joined her three days later,

I like to think Edith's artist brought his final drawing, 
and Edith saw it, 
and Edith smiled.

Copyright 2016 by Paul Curry