Post image for Studio

Always the same old silence
And the same old,
Always different,
Northern light.
Always the same old smell
Of dried-out clay
And dried-out paint
And dried-out ideas.
That brush I haven’t touched in years.
That palette knife remains my favourite.
So many pencils sharpened in hope …
My workbench is flecked with colours
That have not become anything at all
While ceasing to be themselves.
Here is a brownish smear
That was once Vermilion.
There is a spattering of grey
That was once Ultramarine.
And, in their tubes,
Resplendent with their unique names,
The still-virgin paints are waiting.
A Rose Madder
That is quite innocent of the world.
A Sap Green
That does not even know that it is Sap Green.
And here am I,
Surveying the debris of so many years
And reflecting on so many possibilities,
Available, as always,
Just in case an angel
Should pass through my north-facing window
And perch for one instant on my workbench,
Its wings ablaze with colours
For which only God knows the names.

By Jonathan Steffen

First published in The Colour of Love, Acumen Publications, 2011

Previous post:

Next post: