Ketaki Kushari Dyson, A Matter of Shame

Auguste Rodin, French sculptor,
Has a magnificent statue, many know,
Named The Kiss. Two nude figures, kissing.
Many do not know that the world also has
A memorable sculpture, named Shakuntala,
Whose subjects are two nude figures, embracing.
Its creator, Camille Claudel. Poet Paul Claudel’s
Elder sister, who was in love with Rodin
And was a skilful sculptor herself.
Apparently some of Rodin’s greatest compositions
Had this woman’s hand too in places
The chisel of her cooperation.
Paul Claudel, god-obsessed, jealous,
Could not tolerate his sister’s intimacy
With Rodin, and some even say
Her brother’s instigation forced Camille
Into tragic confinement, without being mad,
In an asylum for her last thirty years
Critics had said, for a woman to create
A pair of embracing figures in the nude
Is unpardonable insolence, a matter of shame.

Ketaki Kushari Dyson, A Matter of Shame