Paul Éluard

Don’t you sometimes hate
the way your name became
a footnote to a footnote to an icon?

In our school notebooks
in the poetry tomes
on the pages I have read
they erased your name.

Now merely “A founder” of
the movement you invented,
of an age you embraced, mud,
misery, bloody sputum, armless
soldiers and all, your parachuted poems*
burned like autumn leaves, Surrealism
reduced to a cliché of drooping clocks,
at midnight, she moved on

from your garret to a royalist’s castle
from dripping eaves in your chamber
to fur coats and droplets of gold,
perhaps forgiven, maybe forgotten

but with all your strength at times
surely you must despise the popping eyes
and facial festoons, the posturing, the vanity
of the next man to marry your muse!

Inspired by dVerse.

These days it’s hard to admire a woman like Gala Éluard Dalí, who appeared to create nothing other than artists, but as a muse she was a great success. She encouraged her first husband Paul Éluard and influenced his early poetry. The couple supported the third member of their household, Max Ernst. Then Gala left the successful poet for an impoverished Spanish painter and nurtured him to fame. Paul went on to remarry and write some of his most famous poetry, including *Liberté. Max opened his own Paris studio in 1925. In the early 1930s, Dalí started to sign his paintings with his and his wife’s names as “(i)t is mostly with your blood, Gala, that I paint my pictures.”

Gala’s designer hat

10 comments

  1. She was a legend! I’m so glad you honoured her with this poem. There were a few female surrealists that never got the recognition they deserved, instead often used as muses or models. And yes they were indeed key facilitators of the movement. I love the derision in: Surrealism reduced to a cliche of drooping clocks. the whole of the third stanza, in fact, is my favourite ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your poem flows with an easy conversational style that is a joy to read – A wonderful way to lift this woman from the footnotes into focus – the role of Muse woman is too often to live in the shadows

    Liked by 1 person

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