Thursday, May 7, 2009

In Beatrice's Room

Beatrice Turner, artist

For the hauntingly beautiful artist Beatrice Turner (1888-1948)
whose Spirit, I believe, prompted me to write this poetic tale
one night when I stayed in Beatrice's Room at the Cliffside Inn in Newport, R.I.

In Beatrice's Room

Someone long ago, sat at this window,
cushions plumped, pillows strewn.
The morning mist floated
down the road
to the sea.
Newport's Cliff Walk beckoned~
a young man waited.
She could barely see him through the trees
waving, "Come!"

"There is no such thing as walks with beaus
here in this captive house
they will soon paint black.
There is only Father and Mother
the easel and me.

Today, I will not paint
another portrait of myself
and gaze into my mirrors.
Today I will escape on the catwalk
outside my window.
There is a railing, I can do it
. . . and he is waiting!

Just one day~ this day
before they find me
and lock the door forever!
Just one day~ to see myself
my eyes, my face
in the eyes of another~
reflected, smiling, speaking
sweet exchange of beings~ real.

Just this day
before he locks me in
and keeps me from the world,
before I dip the brush
to paint myself a thousand times
~ one thousand portraits
and leave them to burn
with this house.

My Father,
when your day comes
and the hooded shadow
I will prop you in your chair~
cold and stiff
and you will sit for me . . .
. . . painting
a portrait ~ for your tombstone
like the proper daughter
you will have raised
and honed
in this room
for yourself . . .
while my dearest mother
turned her eyes away.

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Note: Beatrice Turner painted over 1,000 self portaits. Her life is a haunting tale and you can find more about it on the internet.


  1. joanne that is absolutely haunting,, chilled me to my very core... you have such a gift.....

  2. Thank you, Paisley. I'm so glad you stopped by and read this. I was so intrigued by this woman's life. She was so gifted and suffered such loneliness. I hope you get a chance to read more about her life.
    Thank you again.

  3. Indeed, Joanne...She could have very well "auto-wrote" through you. Her life sounded quite dismal and I shall investigate further. You have done Beatrice Turner well with your vivid account. Your work is superb...

  4. Thank you, Margaret. I hope you do get to read more about Beatrice and her intriguing life story. Your kind
    words are so appreciated.



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