Monday, February 19, 2007


by Ruth Padel

He's gone. She can't believe it, can't go on.
She's going to give up painting. So she paints
Her final canvas, total-turn-off
Black. One long
Obsidian goodbye.
A charcoal-burner's Smirnoff,
The mirror of Loch Ness
Reflecting the monster back to its own eye.

But something's wrong. Those mad
Black-body particles don't sing
Her story of despair, the steel and
Garnet spindle
Of the storm.
This black has everything its own sweet way.
Where's the I'd-like-to-kill-
You conflict? Try once more, but this time add

A curve to all that straight. And opposition-
White. She paints black first. A grindstone belly
Hammering a smaller shape
Beneath a snake
Of in-betweening light.
'I feel like this. I hope that you do, too.
Black crater. Screw you. Kiss.'
And sees a voodoo flicker, where two worlds nearly touch

And miss. That flash, where white
Lets black get close, that dagger of not-quite contact,
Catspaw panic, quiver on the wheat
Field before thunder-
There. That's it.
That's her own self, in paint,
Splitting what she was from what she is.
As if everything that separates, unites.

I read this poem for the first time today (I love poetry archive! Follow the title link). It blew me away.

1 comment:

LoserBaby said...

i finally got 'round to getting hold of the keys to my studio space. this poem is going on the wall when i move in... love it. thanks for sharing it.