Marie Madeleine - Short biography

Marie Madeleine Baronness von Puttkamer - Poetry
 Lesbian Love Poems  

Tamara de Lempicka
(°Warsaw 1898; †Cuemavaca Mexico 1980)
The two friends (1923)
Oil on canvas (130 X 60cm)
Geneva, Musée du Petit Palais

Marie Madeleine


Gently, the ocean waves
sing their eternal dirge
and softly the humid spring night 
enfolds me. 
My soul searches for you.

Oh come, 
sweet flock of girls!
I want to drink of your beauty.
Give your wild hair to the wind,
and drop your raiments silently.

My pale child,
give me your mouth, 
and feed my own mad fires. 
How cool your red lips are. 
You havn't learned how love feels yet.

And you, 
with your thick mane of red-gold curls
flowing almost to your heels,
like waves of flame,
show me the fires that glitter and flicker
from your eyes. You must not leave me,
for your are as beautiful as the glowing sun.

And you two
shy and slender sisters
as pale as moonlight,
with your quiet heartache
and your silent pangs of love.

With your limbs' marble splendour
shining white as the waves' glimmering foam,
and your hair in the night,
you are more silent
than a dream.

Oh bouquet of blossoms! 
Oh, flock of girls!
I want to drink of your beauty.
Give your wild hair to the wind,
and drop your raiments silently.

Foiled Sleep
Ah me! I cannot sleep at night; And when I shut my eyes, forsooth, I cannot banish from my sight The vision of her slender youth. She stands before me lover-wise, Her naked beauty fair and slim, She smiles upon me, and her eyes With over fierce desire grow dim. Slowly she leans to me. I meet The passion of her gaze anew, And then her laughter, clear and sweet, Thrills all the hollow silence through. O, siren, with the mocking tongue! O beauty, lily-sweet and white! I see her, slim and fair and young. And ah! I cannot sleep tonight.
Tamara de Lempicka (°Warsaw 1898 +Cuemavaca Mexico 1980) The two friends (1923). Oil on canvas. Art Deco style.
Words of old age
I cannot sleep at night. When my tired eyes have barely closed, her youth appears to me in dreams. A naked girl, fair and slim, wild lust bright in her eyes: Her body blossoms like springtime, her breasts bud like flowers. She leans over me with a high laugh, I hear her laughter echo; so sweet and so full of scorn, thrilling all the hollow silence. Oh, how wildly she mocks me! Her body blossoms so like springtime, a young, young, young girl. I cannot sleep at night, I cannot.

'Marie Madeleine',
Baronness von Puttkamer

(April 4, 1881 - September 27, 1944)

From 'Auf Kypros' (On Cyprus).
First published (1900) by Berlin Charlottenburg,
when Marie Madeleine was 20. These poems reflect
the lesbian attraction of a girl in her puberty.
The beautiful Baronness was charged with being
lewd and shameless.

Short biography

Born Marie-Madeleine Günter in Eydtkuhnen - East Prussia
(now in Russia). At age 19 she married the much older
Baron Heinrich Georg Ludwig Freiherr von Puttkamer.
She moved to Berlin in the same year and published
her first poetry collection, called 'Auf Kypros' (On Cyprus,
1900). Some of her poems are heterosexual in tone
but some are clear depictions of lesbianism.
In 'An der Liebe Narrenseil', (1902 - On Love's Fools'
Leash) she wrote about her frustration about how
the poetic experiments of her youth, had been
misunderstood as confessions of an experienced woman.

I cannot understand at all
why all your heads are twisted
by what I modestly call
the lyrics of puberty.

From 1905 the Baronness lived mainly in Baden-Baden
and in Nice.
Marie Madeleine has published six further collections
of poetry as well as plays, short stories and novels.
Much of Marie Madeleine's considerable wealth
disappeared in the economic crash.
Her health and some of her wealth also went toward
feeding her morphine and cocaine habit. Around 1943
she went to a sanatorium in the city of Katzenelnbogen
where she died (September 27th, 1944) under obscure

Her primary works

'Auf Kypros' (On Cyprus, 1900); 'An der Liebe Narrenseil'
(On Love's Fools' Leash, 1902);
'In Seligkeit und Sunden' (In Bliss and Sin, 1905); 'Katzen'
(Cats, 1910);
'Krabben' (Crabs, 1910); 'Die rote Rose Leidenschaft'
(The Red Rose called Passion, 1912);
'Die drei Nächte' (The Three Nights); 'Pantherkatzchen'
(Panther Kitten, 1915) and Taumel (Ecstasy, 1920).

Sappho - Lesbian poems

Marie Madeleine
Vertaald in het Nederlands


Dead Poets Society

Dead Poetesses Society


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© Gaston D'Haese: 23-09-2006.
Update: 23-05-2018.