The Painter’s Hand


by David Whyte

You start with a painter’s hand
Working up color
from a dark palette
of remembrance.

It used to be guess-work
touching the pigments
as if thy might at any point
betray the startling vision
of its need to live.

Now the paint itself startles
and the hand darting
to the blank canvas
returns the color whole
to the remembered world
from which it came.

Wrong touches
make the blood freeze
a moment before contact.
A colors’  deepening field
of visual gravity’s
deflected a moment before
it pulls the mage down.

The fierce eye of remembrance
finding the eye
of eternal presence
the mind
of its struggle to live.

The blaze of yellow
mistook for God
reveals again
its sacred name.

The light from the window
traveling home
in the flattened brush
a journey

Now something
outside the window
high in the branches
of the fiery trees
announces that other
hidden and unseeable
name of light
falling onto
the stretched canvas
where my hand moves

The artist gladly resigns
his freedom
in the split second
when the hand feels the brush
halt on the painting’s
opening world.

The lost world
where we live
and remember
not wishing freedom
for a moment.