We are the women of the night,
we who stand, unashamed as Eve
before the Fall of naked bodies,
staring deep into those who watch.
We stretch angular and proud
bodies to distract from hard and dark
eyes. Ours is the oldest profession,
but we are the youngest and best,
the lovely little ladies of Avignon,
Spain's daughters gone to seed,
the ones who will not obey,
the ones without another way.
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Pablo Picasso, 1907
It was my good fortune to visit this painting at NYC's MoMA last week, and I've been haunted by the sheer size of it ever since. This poem doesn't begin to do it justice.