The Painter

The painter,

light dimming,

quits the studio


Leaving noon

to flare at seven,

blossom, vase, sky


Washing the sunlight

from his hands

he enters evening


A caress of colour

inside time

has caught time


Stopped the scissors

closing on the dial.

Separated from midday


by no lie of brightness

the rhetorical flowers

are hammered to the canvas


state themselves.

A match spurts up

and the door closes


Shadows encroach

ink the painting over

while the man


following the tip

of his cigarette

goes down the now dark street


from A Puzzling Harvest: Collected Poems 1955-2000 (Anvil Press Poetry, 2002), © Harry Guest, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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