Art Class

There is much that should be altered here.
The cloud in the left-hand corner
is not really necessary.
The two people who stand by the door
of the farm look far too homely.
I would transfer them to the fields
with bent and aching backs,
hoeing turnips, but not picking strawberries,
I think. Strawberries smack of decadence,
bringing marquees, or debutantes,
or even fêtes to mind.
The tree which stands behind the house
is too stark, so why not make it two.
And remove the birds.
Yes, cut out the ornithology.
People see too much of them anyway;
two wings, a beak, legs like an undercarriage.
Give me your brush,
and I will paint them out, so that it will be
as if they had never dotted your canvas.
The light's not bad, not bad at all,
but it isn't the kind of light we like to see
in paintings nowadays. Rather sombre,
I thought, as if the two lonely figures
in the field might soon pack up
and go home for tea.
This is the trouble with your work, you see:
it seems to have a life of its own.
For myself, I would have them drinking wine,
and lift the whole lot from Wales to Brittany.


from Two Women Dancing: New and Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 1995), copyright © Elizabeth Bartlett 1995, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books Ltd

Where next?

Recordings

Elizabeth Bartlett

Elizabeth Bartlett Downloads

1My Five Gentleman

£0.89

2Painting of a Bedroom with Cats

£0.89

3Design

£0.89

4Disposing of Ashes

£0.89

5The Visitors

£0.89

6999 Call

£0.89

7Charlotte, Her Book

£0.89

8Stretch Marks

£0.89

9To Tracy with Love

£0.89

10Egg Tempera

£0.89

11Art Class

£0.89

12Entering Language

£0.89

13Themes for Women

£0.89

14The Limbo Line

£0.89

15Notes for a Thesis on the Thirties

£0.89

16The Winter Gardens

£0.89

17North Terminal

£0.89

18The Harrods of Porth

£0.89

19Deutschmarks and Lemon Trees

£0.89

20Legends and Realities

£0.89

21Abstract

£0.89

22The Winter's Tale

£0.89

23Sunflower

£0.89

24Mine

£0.89

25The Lace Maker

£0.89

26The Beautiful Knees of the Visiting Lay Preacher

£0.89

27Schadenfreude

£0.89

28Enemies

£0.89

29The Geldings

£0.89

30Vikings

£0.89

Books by Elizabeth Bartlett