when you find yourself in front of a painting you don’t understand
look for a shape you recognise
look for a colour you’ve worn
look for a line that could be part of your own name
if you scraped back a layer
what might lie beneath?
can you find the first time you fell in love?
can you find the first time you were afraid?
can you find the first layer of paint laid down when you were still in the womb?
your first word
your first step
your first act of defiance
when you find yourself standing in front of a painting you don’t understand
you are watching your own life unfold
This started out as a much different painting –
an attempt to convey a family separation that happened in my early years.
I wasn’t happy with the painting, it felt too contrived and stiff.
When I decided to paint it out and start again –
suddenly – with those two sweeps of white – it was as if I’d overwritten the past
and shifted into the present.
Strange how things work out …
The poem was written in April 2019 – some sort of foretelling going on there.