Tea Cup, Darker

He told me my assignment and gave me
strictest instructions on what I should do:
“Set up a still-life. Squint so you can see
the lightest light and darkest dark. The hue
should not affect the shadow. In charcoal:
a white tea-cup and saucer, draped by cloth,
upon an empty table. And the goal?”
He told me as one might advise a moth:
“Do not be afraid of the dark. The light
can singe your painting. Find the darkest dark
and push the value, till both sides of bright—
(the light and shadow, each) have made their mark.”
Teacher, the dark and light have found their place
within my art— grief side by side with grace.

Previously published in Oberon

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