The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Michael H. Lythgoe


Three panels, three canvases, three easels.
In the studio, three painters prepare
Three palettes; two mix oils, one watercolors.

Three painters face an empty snowscape.
The canvas is white as the Easter sheeting
The women found in the resurrected tomb.

Three women remember not to be afraid:
One sees lavender ice and blue crystals;
One charcoals skeletal winter birch trees.

One of the three will wash on the sunlight.
She favors reds, but yellows abound
In her Battle Street garden watered with colors.

One of the painters hears earth tones—a hymn:
Great Falls, rocks of ages in the Potomac River,
Stone house textures, autumn hues, church steeple.

A third does portraits, thinking of Sargent’s Lady X
In a strapless, black gown. On another easel
Two herons reveal a biblical passage.

One painter faces a storm’s devastation
On the Outer Banks. I must paint this scene.
To paint this day in this place is to save

A gift of light piercing a lugubrious sky.
Hearts ache as the light leaves, cut clouds heal.
The hand works—dips like a white heron’s beak—

To create. Sable brushes daub pigments.
Earthy stones sing psalms, tawny beast blesses
Us—eyeing lioness’s memories of wilderness.

Genesis blooms: presence occupies a canvass—
Expressive as a mime’s moves; silence dances
In viridian green, mauve, and cadmium

Scarlet—holy oils—a trio fulfills the emptiness.
Ancient icon imaged on cotton cloth: one vision
On three olive wood panels—hinged—inscribed.

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