Wielding an Instrument

by Camilla Jean Welsch

What was different about me then?
Is it that I was more delicate
in wielding a pen(cil)?

Was it then,
that to become the artist of my dreams,
I needed to be as vulnerable as a paper cup?

With only a thin, fine rim of wax
to roll things off?
Sitting out there in the open,
melting into the rest of the universe,
soft, yielding, semipermeable,
yet, still, holding the contents
of the souls
that had found their way in?
And, at each level to which they rose,
I marked their height 
with a pencil.
(I, myself, never got anywhere,
I suppose.)

Oh, to think I’ve turned the cup of souls
into a puddle!
The paper cup broke, it seems
(with the tiniest chagrin as the bottom dropped out).

But it’s not as bad as you think,
really, 
it’s just more comfortable.
And I, lying prostrate on the ground,
face down,
where I landed and came to rest,
became like a stretch of earth itself,
and caught all I’d collected once again
into the crook of my neck,
which became like a soft clay cup.

So, instead, I take a paintbrush, then,
and muddle it around,
and wet the bristles in the cup,
making the colors and the boldnesses
those of my own choice,
mixed with the grit 
of my mind’s basic stuff.
And I lay the mixtures down,
with a different force
and in due time,
and some of it is blood.

It is not a dream, 
but a way of being….
being it!
I realize.
It just took time.
(Am I getting somewhere now?)

And it’s still a delicate thing to do,
isn’t it?
The main difference being,
I only know
the power more,
of souls and blood and lines and strokes,
and the wielding of an instrument.

On the day of writing this poem.

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