THE ARTIST STEPS AWAY
(Also known as “Atelier”)
The studio doors were left unlocked,
And the half-finished works, unready for display,
Without the blessings of provenance, unfrocked,
Were caught where they lay.
A half-carved thought, rough-hewn and wary,
Stretches from an alabaster block;
Mined from a glossary’s translucent quarry,
A polished phrase emerges from the rock.
Plaster dust still circles in a cloud
Above uncovered figures drying;
A heap of canvas, swaddling or shroud,
Enfolds an image newly born or dying.
Vats of elusive pigment, finely ground,
Have spilled to a volatile mixture in the aisle;
Syllables of composition, figments of style,
Drain into absorbent pages stitched and bound.
The floor is strewn with paper crushed and stained;
Crumpled armatures are bone and gristle;
A corpus was lost, or soon will be attained
By the sculptor’s dictionary and the writer’s chisel.