The Painter – a poem

The painter sits before a mounted landscape with shaking hands.

They are not what the used to be. Purple hedgerows blur into orange sky

And where cows once stood there is an enormous bull frog.

She smiles at this – the long years have chiseled away at her artist’s pride.

Of course, there once was a time when the figures and colours and lines

Came so naturally, leaping out of her mind and onto the canvas.

But nowadays she copies things – old photographs and post cards,

Often painting them over, as if to make the memories her own again.

Her workspace is a mess – scattered with brushes and cuttings and lost

Trains of thought. But this doesn’t displease her – sitting before her whole

Life sketched out and framed on the walls – lost fields and well-trodden

Forest paths and grandchildren’s faces, all jostling to meet the eye.

The portraits are less accurate these days – eyes too big and mouths askew,

And yet their owners nod and smile, acknowledging the likeness to be true,

As she hands over the strange gifts with an expectant, half-faltering

Smile and a shaking hand, wondering if this will be the last time.


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