Thursday, June 28, 2012

Botticelli of the Amazon

A painter once lived in Amazonia,
in Bahia, Minas Gerais, Rio, Sao Paulo –
in the rainforests and on the wild seacoast of Brazil,
seeking the image of goodness, wisdom,
of grace, of perfect beauty –

he would not paint again until he found it.

He sought it for many years,
wandering the streets, the jungles, the rivers,
the slums and favelas, the marshes, the beaches,
wandering across the land he loved,
but never found what he sought, and grew to believe
his ideal did not exist, had never existed,
and he had been a fool to waste his life in a fantastic search.
And yet the ideal sat radiantly in his mind,
smiling kindly at him, and always lured him on.
His canvases cracked, his paints dried up,
his brushes grew bristly and stiff.
And still he pushed on
and grew old in his wanderings.

One day, in his great age,
near despair now,
he took ship to an island
off the coast of Santa Catarina
and went quietly across the island.
Turning a corner, or crossing a park, or walking aimlessly down a beach in the sound of the waves,

he saw you,

and, his hands weak and trembling with astonishment,
he reached for his almost ruined paints.


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