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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


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.

Present From Ted

Margaret Avison

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