Painting (Joe Dolce)

She has spread canvas across
the long side of the shed,
and sits on a low stool, washing blue
over white weave.

She likes plein air, the humid day
cut by breeze, sitting close to the blue,
peripheral vision boxed by blue.

This first coat, the primer,
a blue sky, streaked with promise
of nimbus, bird, visitations,
is still empty, awaiting the dream state.

She works the weave,
each day adding, and subtracting,
layering, scraping, applying colour.

The waking, unannounced,
adheres to no timetable, chronology,
calendar or deadline; line upon line,
share upon shape, until closed eyes

snap open, brush lowered,
the work completed (if a work is ever completed),
the sleep, the coma, the alpha state dissipating,
the dream now alive, and breathing
there, outside herself.


Joe Dolce: Composer/poet. Winner of the 2017 University of Canberra Health Poetry Prize. Presently shortlisted for the 2018 University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize. Published in Best Australian Poems 2015 & 2014. Winner of the 25th Launceston Poetry Cup. Published in Meanjin, Southerly, Canberra Times, Quadrant, Not Shut Up (UK), North of Oxford (US) and Antipodes (US). Recipient of the Advance Australia Award. Most recent Book: On Murray’s Run, 150 poems and song-lyrics of Joe Dolce, selected by Les Murray (Ginninderra, 2017).