Artist Painting Over Canvas
The last I saw of the antlers
the cloud resembling a tomato
half materialized tree leaning
against years of gypsy weather
the old woman always
in the background always goes last and
she is the only one who comes back
but now you have decided to leave her
there her face whitewashed with relief
not finished enough to paint over
a tree begins behind her a brown stroke
in the foreground a young woman
her hands hold something valuable
you can see it in her face
even though the thing she holds
is almost out of the picture not yet realized
red vest light blue garment against
the yellow field past the dirt path
what will she hold and will she offer
it before the white brush comes down
you dab her face as if wiping away
a tear and promising her she will stay
the road darkens in the fading light
or is it growing relief the old woman’s
face does not change the tree
behind her branches off the canvas
[with a nod to bussokuseki’s “Earnest Offering” and ideas of erasure it inspired]
I love the comings and goings, the half materialized and not yet realized aspects of this poem, and of course, life itself. Beautifully done.
Thanks Robert! It is always educational to watch my wife work on a painting–all the things you mention are so salient in the act of painting.
Beautiful, and I am so happy for the connection of ideas and images. I love the passing and change in your piece.
Thank you! The themes of your own poem resonated as I watched Mary working. So I had to give credit where credit was due! If I had not read your poem that morning, my mind not have picked up on what it did later that day.