An old artist sits in his cave,
hands shaking as he mixes paint
and picks an ivory frame from
among a million hues waiting
to come alive beneath his brush.
He takes two opposing tools,
his pencil and eraser beginning
to form the first image in
silence as he discovers with
twin lines of light and dark.
It is a word I cannot read and
soon the background covers it,
legion upon legion of forebears,
fossils filling the page as
the artist begins to paint.
In great strokes he strikes
and the faces become formless
against my many-coloured background
of red and black and white
and race and love and death.
Then he stops, the tired old man,
and looks at the distant stardust.
“My time has come” he says,
“my work is done. Take this
and paint – yours is just begun.”