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Mary Trafford reads “A Drawing Lesson”


A Drawing Lesson

I remember the rules from childhood:
blue sky above,
brown earth below,
colour in between, and,
somewhere high up,
a beaming yellow sun.

I follow the rules, discarding
all I have learned between
the brown earth of childhood
and the thin blue sky of now,
try to locate the random specifics
of colour.

Trees, flowers, weeds, soil.
They are all the same, I see,
sprung from flat box of crayons,
not the thought-out order
of botany, but a rain of mayhem
upon the page.

Colour. It’s all about colour.
And where would I be without it:
the soft silence of green sorrow;
the heat-soaked steam of yellow joy;
the daily routine of cinnamon, sugar, mud?

I remember the rules.
Benevolent sky, falling in slow motion.
Reliable earth, shuddering under me.
Narrow, white gasps of air and
the sudden, sweet turmoil of colour.



Mary Trafford’s poems have appeared in various publications, including Bywords, CV2, Canadian Woman Studies, Gone Dogs, and Up the Gatineau. In 2002, she received Arc Poetry Magazine’s inaugural Diana Brebner Prize; in 2020, she placed second in Vallum’s Award for Poetry. Mary lives in Chelsea, Quebec.