Lisbeth And The Artist - Poem by Terry Collett
Lisbeth stands watching
The artist as he prepares
To sketch. Her elder sisters
Stand in shadows whispering.
Her younger sister plays
With her doll on the floor.
Their father said to do as
The artist instructed and
Don't misbehave or be rude.
The artist stares hard his
Dark eyes searching their
Every move and expression
And body gesture. The elder
Girls mutter in shadows
Their hands over their mouths
Their blue eyes like shallow
Pools. Ready? The artist
Asks putting charcoal to
Paper his fingers blackening.
Lisbeth says just as we are?
The artist nods. His grim
Features express do not disturb.
The youngest sister plays
Ignoring the artist her eyes set
On the game at hand. The girls
In shadow turn their profiles
Set to mystery their hands on
Their abdomens like guardians
Of virtue. Lisbeth wonders as
She watches the artist's stiff
Moustache and beard the slow
Movement of his mouth as he
Mouths words and stares hard.
The last artist employed some
Year before younger and less
Brutal in expression and manner
Had drawn them each in private
Rooms and set them down on couch
Or bed and kept their images inside
His head. He was dismissed and the
Drawings destroyed and nothing said.
Lisbeth had thought it just a game
Something done as lover might in
Private corners or lonely spots on
Quiet nights. The artist sketches.
His blackened fingers move and
Made their mark. Their images
Captured. The scene set. One sister
In the shadows yawns the other
Stares in still contempt. Lisbeth
Poses as young girls do. Nothing
To show of interest and nothing
Hid no secret self no other you.
That's it the artist says we'll begin
The painting another day maybe
Next week if all is well. The girls
In shadow look away and resume
Their secret games. Lisbeth studies
The artist's blackened fingers as
He rolls the charcoal sketch and
Puts away. He gazes at her standing
By herself a glimpse of smile and
Glimmer in her eyes like small fires.
He closes the tired lids of eyes
And smoulders down his old desires.
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