Poem: ‘The Painter’

The Painter

Climbing the dune,
wind heavy in our faces.
We squint (or do we smile?),
our laughs and quips
diffuse in the air.

Young legs carry you
ahead to the summit,
where tufts of green cling
to an existence. Then you’re
a sudden lithe silhouette

against a racing sky.
I revel in your victory;
your gentle hand hauls me
up close to ocean eyes,
an elfin smile, teeth

pristine like breakers
on the distant, crashing
shore, that white noise
filling our ears.
To look into you

is to look as men
have done for centuries.
Unchanging heart,
you’re the pearl left
nestling in filth.

So take a look –
can anyone steal time?
An hour here or there,
we leave our footprints,
no foothold anywhere.

I am the painter of this shore –
you are the model.
Again and again,
we return to wrestle
in familiar hues;

deep alizarin crimson,
yellow ochre, phthalo blue,
making it real. Stay in this
moment, we bless and bless.
It has to be you.

© copyright David Francis Barker

* Taken from the collection ‘Anonymous Lines’

The illustration is from a larger painting of a scene overlooking the North Sea, from sand dunes at Wells Next The Sea, Norfolk, England.

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80 comments

  1. Ina · December 5, 2011

    Hi David
    Such a lovely scene 🙂 Some moments are magical, this is one of them. I also love the painting.The North Sea here looks a lot like it does on your side!

    Like

  2. David Francis Barker · December 5, 2011

    Thank you, Ina!
    By the way, should you want this poem for your sea blog at any time, please go ahead.
    Many kind regards
    David

    Like

  3. Ina · December 5, 2011

    Thank you very much! I love to! 🙂

    Like

  4. Emma · December 5, 2011

    David- wistful, gorgeous poetry! ‘Unchanging heart, you’re the pearl left nestling in filth’….what a lovely line. I love your use of color in the last stanza as well, and that last line…yes. Fantastic.

    Like

  5. David Francis Barker · December 5, 2011

    Emma, I thank you so much! I suppose we’re all orphans in some sense and have to grab every at any opportunity for happiness, however, insubstantial it may be. I am very grateful to you for reading and commenting on this.

    Like

  6. Angela · December 5, 2011

    Beautiful, David, on all counts: the words, the image and the feelings and lines in-between. I just loved your last line: it has to be you – so final and so full of promises.

    Like

  7. David Francis Barker · December 5, 2011

    Thank you so much! Such feelings may only come once in a lifetime. I appreciate your comments, I’m grateful.

    Like

  8. Eva Von Pelt · December 5, 2011

    Gorgeous, David! So many beautiful words, but ‘you’re the pearl / nestled in filth’ are my favourite : ) Nicely done!
    -Eva

    Like

  9. David Francis Barker · December 5, 2011

    Thank you Eva! You’re very kind, and I appreciate your comments.

    Like

  10. susanjanejones · December 5, 2011

    Truly beautiful

    Like

  11. David Francis Barker · December 5, 2011

    Thank you!

    Like

  12. Ashley · December 5, 2011

    How simply wonderful. I am glad you followed my blog for I have now found yours. Your words are simple magic, your paintings are power. Thank you.

    Like

  13. David Francis Barker · December 5, 2011

    Ashley, thank you! You are very kind and I’m grateful to you.

    Like

  14. bardessdmdenton · December 5, 2011

    Hi David. I love the way you compose your poetry with your painter’s eye.

    This I particularly liked:

    ‘I am the painter of this shore –
    you are the model.
    Again and again,
    we return to wrestle
    in familiar hues;’

    …part of the engaging lyrical whole.

    Like

  15. granbee · December 5, 2011

    David, I have tried SO MANY TIMES to get your blog to allow me to follow you through my email, but no luck. The “follow” button does not recognized my valid email address. The “like” button does not recognize my valid wordpress sign in. I finally discovered the correct wordpress URL from another Tweet of yours. Hooray! Anyway, your paintings are just ethereally beautiful and say so much about ourselves on this planet. “I am the painter of this shore”: indeed, doesn’t that say a lot about how we shape our own destiny’s, set our own limitations and designs? The “you are the model” part disturbs me just slightly as a woman who has never been comfortable being “looked at”, so to speak. Thank you for the loveliness of this post that will haunt me and prod me on to my own “designs”, I am sure.

    Like

  16. Victoria C. Slotto · December 5, 2011

    Ah, I finally found the poems by looking in archives. This is just exquisite. Especially like the image of the pearl in filth and your use of color in the last stanza, which always speaks to me. Beautifully rendered.

    Like

  17. Victoria C. Slotto · December 5, 2011

    Just a thought, David…maybe it would be easier to find if you have a “Page” for poetry.

    Like

  18. Thomas Davis · December 6, 2011

    This is poetry that catches up into the timeliness of time, reminding us that we cannot truly steal what always exists, but always escapes us. To me this is the stanza upon which the whole poem turns. In the end all any of us can do is stay in this moment

    deep alizarin crimson,
    yellow ochre, phthalo blue,

    and realize that yes, this moment is wrapped up in you, the model, the lover, the friend… the landscape of the seashore.

    Like

  19. Louise Jaques · December 6, 2011

    David, I think this is stunning. You are a true poet, and painter as well, and to have those two incredible outlets of creative expression to manipulate and share is such a precious gift. I think that the reason your posts are so magical is the way you are able to, with the painterly spirit of the artist, (evoked, for example, in the unusual colour names in the final stanza) give us a picture and then give it added life with words. The paintings alone are wonderful, but the words take them to new levels. I love!

    Like

  20. lscotthoughts · December 6, 2011

    David, this is beautiful and I agree with others earlier comments. Also, the last line really got to me…your words are so gorgeous!

    Like

  21. Caddo Veil · December 6, 2011

    “You’re a sudden lithe silhouette” is my favorite line, if I have to pick just one. It’s a gloriously beautiful portrait! Thank you!

    Like

  22. reading-stars · December 6, 2011

    This sounds like a father’s view of a memorable place and times (to me). I feel childhood through to an adult’s eyes rather than romance. “Unchanging heart, you’re the pearl left nestling in filth..” emotive, beautiful poetry. I like the up-to-date feel of the painting to couple with the poetry too, the contemporary clothing and brushstrokes for the sky. 🙂

    Like

  23. David Francis Barker · December 6, 2011

    Hi again and thank you once again for your very kind words!

    Like

  24. David Francis Barker · December 6, 2011

    Hi! Yes, I think you have a good point. I have been thinking recently of having a website wholly for poetry, like an archive, to stand alone from the blog. Once again, I appreciate your interest. David

    Like

  25. David Francis Barker · December 6, 2011

    Louise – I thank you so much! I sometimes think that the best art can only come from pure feeling and cannot be manufactured, yet of course, we all work so hard at perfecting a poem or painting, don’t we? I am very grateful to you and I look forward to more of your posts. David.

    Like

  26. David Francis Barker · December 6, 2011

    I thank you! I am very grateful for you kind words. Yes, the last line was inspired by that sense you only rarely get in life (if ever?) of looking into someone’s eyes and getting that feeling of the ephemeral and the eternal meeting in some inexplicable, heavenly space, framed by nature’s elements. Not really knowing what it’s ‘all about’ is, I guess, part of life’s beautiful (if often painful) mystery. Thank you! 🙂

    Like

  27. David Francis Barker · December 6, 2011

    Hi again! I am really grateful for your kind comments.

    Like

  28. David Francis Barker · December 6, 2011

    Hi and thank you very much for your kind comments. I am grateful to you.

    Like

  29. brian miller · December 6, 2011

    nice…followed claudia and victoria over…and what a reward…well written…the pearl in the filth is a line i wish i had written…great depth of feeling in your closing lines too…

    Like

  30. David Francis Barker · December 6, 2011

    Brian, I’m really grateful for your comments, thank you so much! I’ve been trying to look into ‘d’verse’ a bit more but never seem to get around to it, but I’ve only recently got into top gear with this blog. Been going for 18 months (painting and poetry) but I hadn’t figured how rich a community there was online. Thank you again!

    Like

  31. Lindy Lee · December 6, 2011

    David, you write,

    “So take a look-
    can anyone steal time?
    An hour here or there,
    we leave our footprints,
    no foothold anywhere.”

    And, you paint a moment in time in

    “deep alizarin crimson,
    yellow ochre, phthalo blue”

    Your artistic gifts are breathtaking…

    Like

  32. Rose Marie Raccioppi · December 7, 2011

    Your visit and now mine
    the wondrous pen and brush
    expressed be the sublime…

    colors and words do convey
    symbols and strokes
    the heart at play…

    Thank You,
    Rose Marie

    Like

  33. claudia · December 7, 2011

    it has to be you…alone this line carries so much weight… love the scene you paint…she the model, you the painter, the capture of outside and inside.. love it and again a breath-taking painting…

    Like

  34. David Francis Barker · December 7, 2011

    Once again, thank you very much!

    Like

  35. David Francis Barker · December 7, 2011

    Thank you! I am more than grateful for you lovely, kind comments.

    Like

  36. neelthemuse · December 7, 2011

    Can anyone steal time? I like that…..that’s what makes an artist an artist- the ability to make time more malleable, the inability to become a time slave!
    Bravo!

    Like

  37. journeyintopoetry · December 7, 2011

    Hi David,

    Once again you have given me a treasure.

    I agree totally with reading-stars here; for me it speaks of love for a child from a parent, maybe. “Young legs carry you ahead to the summit” This reminds me of our trips to the Lake District, how we always used to remark that our son climbed those hills like a young mountain goat.

    I have read it again and I can see romance too – two for the price of one here!!

    Your painting is, as ever, so soothing to my eyes. I love the way the figures in your pictures appear so small against the landscape, emphasising, for me, what a tiny pin prick I am in this great big world and yet at the same time how I have been given the privilege of a life important enough to enjoy and savour all the beauty that surrounds me. Each of us has an important role in the world.

    Your work seems to bring out the “babble” in me!!

    Christine

    Like

  38. David Francis Barker · December 7, 2011

    Thank you! You are very kind indeed!

    Like

  39. David Francis Barker · December 7, 2011

    … and thank you for the verses, they’re wonderful!

    Like

  40. David Francis Barker · December 7, 2011

    Hi Christine, once again I am so grateful for you comments. Yes, as far as paintings are concerned I nearly always have people being pretty small, dominated by the scenery, which is, as you so rightly say, how it is in reality. I am very grateful to you and best wished, David.

    Like

  41. funsoo · December 7, 2011

    I love this … seriously … ❤

    Like

  42. Mike Patrick · December 7, 2011

    For this first time visitor, there is much to enjoy on your blog. Your art is as enchanting as your poetry, and your poetry has heart. It is filled with balanced touches of color and metaphor. This is a lovely place to visit. Would you mind putting some tea on, I’d like to stay awhile.

    Like

  43. David Francis Barker · December 7, 2011

    Hi – I am very grateful for your kind thoughts, thank you so much!…. would Earl Grey tea be acceptable? 😉

    Like

  44. David Francis Barker · December 7, 2011

    Thank you, I am very grateful for your visit and your lovely comments!

    Like

  45. James Brandon O'Shea · December 7, 2011

    Congratulations on being featured, sir. You deserve it.

    Like

  46. David Francis Barker · December 7, 2011

    Thank you very much! I am so grateful to you.

    Like

  47. David Francis Barker · December 7, 2011

    Gosh! I am very grateful to you! Thanks so much.

    Like

  48. giorge thomas · December 8, 2011

    Beautiful. How I wish I could paint. I guess the poetry will have to do.

    Like

  49. David Francis Barker · December 8, 2011

    Thank you so much! Believe me, there are plenty of days when I feel I can’t paint….!

    Like

  50. sandrabranum · December 8, 2011

    Wow David, you are so talented: painter and poet. The painting reminds me of Panama City, FL and the poem is breathtaking. Thanks for subscribing to my blog. I’ll have to try painting my word pictures are wonderful as your paintings.

    Like

  51. zumpoems · December 8, 2011

    Great expression of love and that deep admiration that comes from such love!

    Looks like you and I have something particularly pleasant in common this week. Both of our sites have featured poests at http://en.wordpress.com/tag/poetry/ — your site on the left and zumpoem’s on the right!

    Like

  52. David Francis Barker · December 8, 2011

    Yes! Thanks for pointing it out and congrats to you, too! Well done.

    Kind regards

    David Francis Barker Paintings in oil and mixed media. Painting commissions

    websites http://www.saatchionline.com/profile/284071 http://www.oneoffthewall.com/artists/artist/114 https://francisbarkerart.wordpress.com

    Poetry collection, ‘Anonymous Lines’ available here: http://liten.be//j5nek

    Like

  53. David Francis Barker · December 8, 2011

    Sandra, you are very kind! Thank you so much. Panama City? I wish! I am very grateful for your comments.

    Like

  54. BlueGem · December 9, 2011

    Great poetry and art! I was working on a piece with the same theme recently. Who knows, maybe this will inspire me to finish it 🙂 Great post, David!

    Like

  55. df barker · December 9, 2011

    Thank you! You’re very kind

    Like

  56. Betty · December 9, 2011

    Your poetry is simply beautiful, and so are your paintings. Your blog takes my breath away! Looking forward to reading more, and to viewing more of your lovely art.

    Like

  57. df barker · December 9, 2011

    Bless you! I am very grateful to you and your lovely comments.

    Like

  58. jimandblueguy · December 9, 2011

    Awesome! Blue Guy wouldn’t like it (That’s a good thing, of course.)
    :-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-):-)

    Like

  59. Fergiemoto · December 10, 2011

    Oh, so beautiful – both the artwork and poem!

    Like

  60. Eric Alagan · December 10, 2011

    Alluring and entrancing.

    Like

  61. df barker · December 10, 2011

    Thank you very much!!!

    Like

  62. df barker · December 10, 2011

    Thank you again!!!

    Kind regards

    David Francis Barker Paintings in oil and mixed media. Painting commissions

    websites http://www.saatchionline.com/profile/284071 http://www.oneoffthewall.com/artists/artist/114 https://francisbarkerart.wordpress.com

    Poetry collection, ‘Anonymous Lines’ available here: http://liten.be//j5nek

    Like

  63. Ken W. Simpson · December 11, 2011

    Not much lef to say. I loved the poem and the painting – a dual creayive treat.

    Like

  64. Angles of Secrets · December 11, 2011

    Beautiful use of imagery! Thank you for sharing it

    Like

  65. df barker · December 11, 2011

    Hi – thank you very much!!!

    Like

  66. Ken W. Simpson · December 12, 2011

    Sorry for the abysmal review above. Too many spelling mistakes. Your wonderful poem and paintrings deserve much better.

    Like

  67. df barker · December 12, 2011

    Hi – no worries! I’m just grateful to you for looking at it and liking it. Thank you.

    Kind regards

    David Francis Barker Paintings in oil and mixed media. Painting commissions

    websites http://www.saatchionline.com/profile/284071 http://www.oneoffthewall.com/artists/artist/114 https://francisbarkerart.wordpress.com

    Poetry collection, ‘Anonymous Lines’ available here: http://liten.be//j5nek

    Like

  68. IanR · December 13, 2011

    This is great poetry. It depicts a beautiful scene, and the words themselves are beautiful. It fits together well. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  69. df barker · December 13, 2011

    You are so kind! I am very grateful, thank you!

    Like

  70. Gillian Colbert · December 14, 2011

    Wonderfully written. You are a creative and exquisite wordsmith.

    Like

  71. df barker · December 14, 2011

    Thank you so much!

    Like

  72. susielindau · December 14, 2011

    I love how you captured time in a moment – absolutely breath-taking!

    Like

  73. df barker · December 14, 2011

    Hi – you are so kind, and I’m grateful for your comments. Thank you!

    Like

  74. leamuse · December 20, 2011

    Enjoyed hearing the waves crash along with the poem! Your words evoke the sounds.

    Thanks for signing up for foundinfrance. Have you seen my poetry blog?

    poetryphotosandmusingsohmy

    Like

  75. Soma Mukherjee · December 26, 2011

    What a beauty…you are blessed with magic of colours and words..loved it

    Like

  76. RoseCityRemona · December 27, 2011

    You’ve stolen my time and colored my soul. Thank you, Re

    Like

  77. Russ L · December 29, 2011

    Oh YEAH! 🙂

    Like

  78. slpmartin · January 4, 2012

    Just a delightful image you paint with your words.

    Like

  79. WordsFallFromMyEyes · January 4, 2012

    The painting – it’s beautiful, utterly beautiful (the blue I feel is just perfectly the brightness I’ve seen some days).

    Your poem is so beautiful. What artistry. Poems truly are something ELSE.

    Like

  80. Jane Thorne · January 4, 2012

    David what beautiful paintings you do and the words that accompany them…Wells next the Sea…a favourite of my childhood..thank you for sharing this – Jane

    Like

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