Poem: Palette of Imperfection


Palette of Imperfection

It’s a little messy, like me,
the remnants of color,
dark, vibrant, worn, transparent,
the portions of paintings
that never made it to paper,

There are days the palette seem more the painting
than the painting itself.
A story in each divot, custom mixed,
experiments, more failures than art,
a tribute less to talent than persistence.
Fail enough and sooner or later you will slip up
and produce brilliance,
the law of averages
always wins.

I am content to try,
certain God will forgive my failures,
certain he reads hearts far more completely than the details,
like a patient parent he waits,
lets me fall like a child on a bicycle, the slow kid on the block,
until you ride, finally, bruised and victorious.

Once, in the early days of learning to paint,
a stranger to the gallery hovered over me,
Buying, not the art, but the practice page,
that side-sitting sheet where you practiced brushstrokes
before actually painting.
Showing how little I knew, they bought,
not the work, but the practice.
Somewhere my flurry of flaws hangs on a wall
so desired it became art, teaching

me the lesson I needed to learn,
that I don’t decide value,
Others do
and they are just as likely to celebrate
flaw as perfection.

And so I hide my flaws less and less.
I make my mistakes in the open,
never sure of my value
to anyone
but God.

About this poem

Purely autobiographical, even the bit about someone buying my practice page as I paint. Love me. Hate me. There’s no accounting for taste.


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