- THE GALLERY -
I am a wanderer by choice–
 A preference I oft rejoice;
I pay no heed to any voice
 Except my very own.

Through villages and glades I roam
 With no desire to claim a home
Or share my name by tongue or tome
 Lest sins I must atone.

I walk this life alone...

Upon this twilight aptly blessed
 When men of faith aspire to rest,
I set upon an anxious quest
 To flee a vengeful storm;

But as I stagger up the street,
 Damp cobblestones beneath my feet,
I find doors bolted in defeat
 To thwart my freezing form.

I shiver to get warm...

But what is this to catch my eye
 Between the earth and angry sky?
A door ajar which dares defy
 The fury of the gale;

Persuaded by a blinding flash,
 Across the sodden street I splash
And o'er the threshold boldly crash
 In effort to prevail.

Death waits if I should fail...

A silver bell above the door
 Rings with a voice I've heard before
While I stand dripping on the floor
 Within a tiny room;

No living soul is glimpsed at all
 Or answers my expectant call;
I have no hint what might befall
 Or lurk beneath the gloom.

Dead silence, like a tomb...

As I squint, perceptions shifting,
 Watching shrouds of darkness lifting,
My attention keeps on drifting
 Towards a shadowed nook;

On their easels, neatly covered,
 Six large paintings gently hovered;
Works of art yet undiscovered–
 Or, perhaps, forsook.

I must go steal a look...

Unveiled, the first is rather trite–
 A study sketched in black and white
Which shows how dark defines the light
 As night contrasts the day;

As observations lingers on
 My first impressions are foregone;
I sense my passions strangely drawn
 To interim shades of gray.

I shrug and turn away...

The next is hard to ascertain–
 It's not unlike a water stain
As if once used to capture rain
 Or trap the morning dew;

I risk a touch, the pigment smears
 And trickles down like human tears,
Drips to the floor, then disappears
 Beyond my narrow view.

I search my heart anew...

The third I think I understand–
 A painting filled with sea and land,
Created by a skillful hand
 And brushed with classic style.

Within a maple's spreading lace,
 I think I see the artist’s face
Within the leaves he dabbed in place
 With a delighted smile.

I marvel for awhile...

The forth painting is quite bizarre–
 The sun, the moon, one blazing star
Perform a concert from afar
 Against a velvet sky;

In perfect harmony they sing
 While eons form an endless ring
And autumn dances with the spring
 Before their time is nigh.

I take a breath, and sigh...

A touch of whimsy marks the fifth
 Which tells a most amusing myth
Of fishes toting birds forthwith
 Between two distant shores;

On finny friends, the birds recline
 As if intended by design,
Propelled across the surging brine
 By love instead of oars.

My ache for friendship soars...

Still pondering five paintings past,
 I stand before the sixth and last
And pray the artist had surpassed
 The rest by some degree;

But as I pull the velvet drape,
 I stagger back, my mouth agape–
The face portrayed can not escape
 Familiarity ...

The portrait is of me!

But unlike those I viewed before,
 This painting aches for something more–
A lack of detail and decor
 Leaps from the gilded frame;

Even so, it looms commanding,
 Incompleteness notwithstanding;
I am lost, my brain demanding
 Some cause for this acclaim.

What IS this artist's name?

I scan the canvas for a clue
 To whom my gratitude is due
So I might ask him why he drew
 My sketch in such a rush;

In one corner, something odd–
 Just above the gilt facade
The artist signed my portrait "GOD"
 And left behind His brush.

I cannot help but blush...

Daylight comes, the storm abated,
 Adding warmth to art created;
I now see, although belated,
 Through eyes which understand;

Now I wander roads uncharted
 With the paintbrush He imparted
Adding to the work He started
 Just the way He planned...

I trace the Artist's hand.