Sunday, March 7, 2010
If you ever asked me
how my drawing classes are going.
I would tell you that I enjoy
adhering to the outline of a thing.
to follow the slope of an individual pear
or the curve of a glossy piano.
And I love trailing my hand
over the smooth membrane of bond,
the intelligent little trinity
of my fingers gripping the neck of the pencil
while the other two dangle below
like the fleshy legs of a tiny swimmer.
I would add that I can get lost
crosshatching the shadow of a chair
or tracing and retracing
the slight undercarriage of a breast.
We all started with the box and the ball
then moved on to the cup and the lamp,
the serrated leaf, the acorn with its cap.
But I want to graduate to the glass decanter
and learn how to immobilize in lead
translucent curtains lifted in the air.
I want to draw
four straight lines that will connect me
to the four points of the compass,
to the bright spires of cities,
the overlapping trellises,
the turning spokes of the world.
One day I want to draw freehand
a continuous figure
that will begin with me
when the black tip touches the paper
and end with you when it is lifted
and set down beside a luminous morning window.
- Billy Collins, The Trouble With Poetry