1962 Cobalt Blue
It was during the summer of ‘62 that
my father painted June, July and August.
Not painting the house, or bedrooms,
or the kitchen that baby-puke avocado
green to match mother’s fridge. No.
We rented a cottage that summer
along a stretch of grey flat beach
that was muffled in cool salty fog
every morning. My father painted
the sea every day using 3 tubes of paint.
One was white, like the colour of heaven,
one was as grey as an oyster, and one was
cobalt blue. He’d sit on his metal folding
chair that by noon was half swallowed
by shifting sand, and he’d paint.
His brush stroked clouds, waves
and breakers, sand and gliding gulls.
And the sea – mostly the sea. But as soon
as he’d captured its perfume on the canvas
something would happen – something
would change. The light shifting blues
to sulky grey, waves toppling white and
rolling toward black, the wind spinning
mist to helius heights, and sometimes it
was so quiet that you’d hear pebbles sing.
“This damned sea,” he’d say, “get a feel
for it and she changes partners – waltzes
into a tango, and you never see it coming.
Just like a woman to use up my cobalt blue!”
What woman, I’d ask. But he never
answered. He just spackled more cobalt blue
into the depths of a near-cresting wave,
thick and delicious as toothpaste.
The sea, the sea: I never understood the sea.
Marilyn Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, bottles of fermenting vinegar, a Springer Spaniel, and a small camera that she keeps in her pocket. She never buys clothing without pockets.
Thank you so much, Joseph and Tessa, for this honour.
Beautiful story poem. I can see it all. Lovely memory for you, I’m sure. Congratualtions, Misky.
excuse the misspell…it is early here
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Proper lush… and fabulous !
Gorgeous, gorgeous. Oh, that sea. Spilled so beautifully here.
Fabulous piece – congratulations!
Oh my Misky! Beautiful poem – but I fear that you have pulled me into the crest of your wave here mingling with my own background with my father a painter in oils – with whom I adored the sea and cobalt blue…. Thank you
He “…brush stroked clouds, waves
and breakers, sand and gliding gulls.” What a picture you have painted here, reminding my of my favorite place.
Oh-so-beautiful and full of personality – that of your father, and that of the sea. “… so quiet that you’d hear pebbles sing” is just delicious.
You got the strangeness of the occasion in there. Without your saying so explicitly, I gather he had never done such a thing before. To put over a key idea without saying it directly is a great achievement.
Thank you, my friends, for your wonderful support of both Curio and of my work.
Oh wow! Just when I think I can’t love your poems any more, you write another treasure. I so love this.
This is so beautiful, and so wonderfully “paints” the poem’s story. Lovely, lovely, lovely!
Oh, Misky, You’ve done it again. I stood on that beach and watched the colored spread across the canvas, watched as the brush and palette knife brought his vision to life. I could understand his frustration, and feel the pebbles hum with the changing weather. You’ve done yourself proud with this tribute to your father, my friend. Absolutely fabulous.
Oh Misk – this is lovely…such a tribute to both father and sea – your work just gets better … glad to see it here, a fine place to house your words
you just painted a memory with words. This is a beautiful poem.
Misky, that is a brilliant poem. I’m wiping away a tear after reading it and remembering my late aunt, a painter, who I used to watch and watch for hours begging her to let me try her oils since I was…born. And I feel the same frustration when my subject changes. If this is an autobiographical poem that I’d love to see some of the paintings. 🙂
My mother has most of them. I unfortunately don’t have any of them. I have lots of memories though.
Lovely poem, for a while I was at that sea shore watching your father use up his cobalt blue
What a charming poem! “What woman?”