Sister From The Order Of The Pre-Raphaelites

sister of the pre-raphaelite order

Note — In the late 19th century through the early 20th, there was a school of  art called “The Pre-Raphaelite Movement”.  Its painters drew on Medieval and Renaissance colors, subject matter, fantasy and other elements of a distant time to define their work.  The most famous artists of the period were , of course, men like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Waterhouse, William Morris and others. However, there was also a female counterpart to the male members of this new  artistic order. They were determined as well to express themselves through inventive and creative ideas on canvas. But for a woman to define herself as an artist was quite scandalous at the time. It was often considered sacrilege (unholy) for a woman to disrupt her social values and duties to pursue such   a dream or foster that kind of ambition. Yet, brave women like Elizabeth Siddal  and others prevailed defying  cultural norms and criticism. This poem is about a fictitious member of the group based loosely on the combined work/perspective of Evelyn Morgan and Maria Spartail Spellman.


Sister From The Order Of The Pre-Raphaelites

Do not think I wear an apron

to peel, dust or polish. No, I wear this garment

to solely paint. The room cleared of carpets and furniture,

the windows lacking drapes. Heat rises from the iron grate

and with it, the outside drifts in


haunting my canvas with Tuscan hills and field, A knight

shadowing the girl who walks barefoot

along the shallow river. Her blonde hair

falling into the breeze


like catkins hanging

from the cypress or willow. Her thin arms

burdened with loaves of bread to feed the sick.

And hints of them


grafted to the bush. Their sack cloth hoods

a shade darker than the summer foliage

drooping over water that washes stone

scabbed with lichen. A leprous gray.


This is the universe I create —

the blessed and the forsaken. And for this,

I forsake marriage and children. And for this,

I become a martyr of misfits. My hand haloed

with an oak palette.


My body starched in the resolve

of unholy work.


The lovely watercolor is by artist, Mary Sloan

8 replies on “Sister From The Order Of The Pre-Raphaelites”

Wendy What a great write.. Your words and the painting made me hungry for the written word and hungry to hold the brush in my hand ! Hoping to have time to get back to the things I love.. It has been a long dry
3 1/2 years with lots of inspiration and no time…I am pleased to feel a tug at my heart..
Thank you so much



You have such a talent for giving authentic voice to your subjects.
Wonderful write that creates the empathy in the reader that is ever
present in the poet.

I have really missed you and your work here at The Pub. So glad for
this one!


Liked by 1 person

Dear Wendy,

Your creative work weaves interesting layers of imaginings for your readers. This makes me feel warmth toward creativity, that magnificent pull to stretch our images & words to & from the heart. This, dear writer, invites and pulls in such a grand sway. I enjoyed your creation.

Warm regards,


Dear Deb

So glad you enjoyed this poem and am very grateful for your perspective and sharing of personal experience. Painting is a wonderful hobby/craft/pursuit; and I hope you find the time to take up this art form again. I am sure it was very fulfilling and challenging as well.

Dear Sarah,

As always your words and encouragement keep me confident in my work and inspired. I am glad you really
could relate to this poem and as always, deeply appreciate your support and viewpoint. It is so very much appreciated!!

Dear Jan

What a beautiful thing to say about this poem! I am glad it gave you a “feeling of warmth” toward the creative process. I can personally understand that and agree. Creativity is something that befriends us as well as challenges us to release our imaginative voice and our will to create. Thanks so much for your kind comments!

My Best to everyone,
Please take care



With the assuredness of a master’s brush, you bring life to whatever subject to write about. I lost myself in the atmosphere of this poem, savoured each perfectly drawn line. No bones about it, you are so very, very good.



Hi Douglaus

Your are very generous with your review of my work and I am deeply moved and grateful for such a lovely commentary on my poetry. I am so glad you enjoyed this piece and always appreciate your kind words and insight. Again, Thank you so very much!! It means a lot!

My Best


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