Present From Ted
by Margaret Avison

copyright © Margaret Avison, 2002

It must have been after a
birthday; at Christmastime
daylight hasn’t the lambency
I remember as part of
the puzzling present somebody
had given me: a scribbler, empty pages, but
not for scribbling in.
Instead of a pencil box there was
a jellyglass set out, with water, and
a brand-new paint brush.

The paper was not pretty.
A pencil-point might in an upstroke
accidentally jab a hole in it.

But, painting it –
as I was told to, with only
clear water, “Behold!”
my whole being sang out, for “see”
would not have been adequate.

The pictures that emerged
were outlines? I remember
only the paper, and the wonder of it,
and how each page was turning out to be
a different picture.

There were no colours, were there?

In the analogy, there are
glorious colours
and, in some way that lacks
equivalents,
deepening colours, patterns that keep
emerging, always
more to anticipate.

For that there is no other process.

Locked in the picture is
missing the quality of the analogy of
morning light
and the delighted holder of the paint-brush
and who gave him the book, and where he found it.