Sketching

Alone now on a kind of raft, this piece perhaps
of a former raft that drifted by while I sat drawing,
I waited, but seeing no one chasing after it,
I waded out and hopped aboard this rough
three-log cushion, to take me down this lazy river
called the Wolf, where my father once worked.

I’m sketching everything, making lots of mistakes,
but I persevere, try to preserve various views well enough,
try to act quickly, almost like a camera, clicking with fast strokes
as my drawing teacher coached, taking note
of the relationships between various textures,
lights and darks, emphasizing chosen contrasts.

I’m doing all this to the tune of the constant water ripple
and bird calls, lulling me, the undulating rhythms,
into a drowsy state, my work, I know, becoming more
like fuzzy little utterances, brief displays of blurry speech,
small yips and yelps of pencil scratchings slipping
here and there, blurring proportions and dimensions.

In my drawing, however, I imagine I still sing
this river world well, voice accurately enough
all the tidings of this hot summer afternoon,
capture the truths it speaks to me in my sketchbook,
relate an accurate transcript of this world, stepped out of time,
my dad and I now share, decades apart.

Quavering though my scrawling voice may be,
I want to tell you all who may see it, this is a best record
scribbled on my pad, the truest capture by a so-so composer
who was absorbed deeply in this profound music
and taken to an afternoon height of dizziness
from where he saw the earth not fallen away.

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