Modeling (Poem)

Modeling

Scott Miller

 

Beauty is truth, truth beauty—that is all

Ye need to know on earth, and all ye need to know. [Keats]

 

I am painting Gandalf, I think.

This old man—

long beard, paunchy belly, drooping skin—

models for us artists in this

life

drawing

class.

Drawing life,

models model, painters paint, draughtspeople draw—

the room rocking to Led Zeppelin,

otherwise silent except for the soft grates

of pencils drawing across rough paper.

 

He stands naked on an altar in the middle of the room,

a wizard staff clutched in his left hand.

Bright floodlights sculpt his flesh

into a geography of glares and shadows.

I draw, my pencil limning

his thin arms, the round curve of his torso,

weaving, modeling, immoderately gazing

to see, really see

what’s really there.

 

The model is the mode of the real,

the modulation of the truth,

but too is the truth, awaiting our

modulation in mimic (i)magery.

 

The artists gaze with the rapt attention of supplicants, as if

—as if—

here, finally, was the beautiful truth

and the truthful beauty

we have all, always,

been waiting for.

 

The timer dings, and the old man model shifts,

sitting now on a stool.

We supplicants sigh, stretch, riffle pages

to find a new blank space,

gaze earnestly,

measure,

judge,

weigh,

choose medium and tools,

and bow our heads.

(Photo Source)

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