Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the long-dead artist's widow

For Daphne
We’re here to take the children that your husband made of light,
Every brave and dancing dazzle a strike against the dark.
Here – a boy emerges from the shadows in the park,
And here a girl leans over, in lemon sun, to write.

These children have been pressed together, hidden out of sight,
We weigh them up and balance them, beauty strange and stark,
Every brave and dancing dazzle a strike against the dark,
We’re here to take the children that your husband made of light.

We’ll hang them in the lounge room, or the hallway where it’s bright,
They’ll live in our whole vision, every glimmer, every spark.
We’ll visit with our infant son your place of mud and bark
We’ll tap on glass, and peer inside: you’re sturdy, but you’re slight.
We’re here to take the children that your husband made of light.

---
Today Martin and I did a wonderful and strangely poignant thing, we went to visit his Great Aunt whose husband was a wonderful artist in the post-war years and came home with six paintings and two sketches after sorting through, oh, hundreds with all the sketches. It was amazing looking through the work, selecting which ones we wanted to keep - a once in a lifetime opportunity. I love that they are all of children of varying ages (the one in "lemon light" is a very young grown up), and they all suggest inner-reflection, a depth of experience that the artist respectfully observes from a distance, without intrusion. She lives in a mudbrick house in Wandin that her husband and his brother (also a painter) built soon after WW2. A magical place. It is some many years since David died, and Daphne recently decided she would rather give the paintings to family who know and care about the subjects in the painting (mostly their five children) than try and sell them.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Lovely, Penni. What a wonderful thing.