A Poem by S B Borgersen

WERE YOU ONCE AN ART TEACHER? REALLY?

If they can hold a pencil they can draw, she said
they must have certificates, she said.
The job is yours, said the pink-cheeked,
French headmistress
elegantly
from her bed
on the balcony
looking down
through scrolled wrought iron railings
to her tiny school in Curepipe.
So teach them art,
she said.
*
Your students were offspring of sugar barons
they knew for certain what their futures held
college or no college they would still have jobs:


family sugar fields always needed bosses.


You didn’t teach them to draw
nor paint — not even hold a pencil at first.


Together you followed the certificate curriculum
like spiders spinning ragged free webs
like mongooses crawling haphazard through sugar fields
you wove your way to art using the familiar
discovering how to look and see
to feel black porous lava
sculptures from
The Kanaka crater
finding nature’s art.


Finally you painted
with them. En plein air
prostrate
eyes deep in the earth
looking
seeking
seeing
beneath
the Daliesque
roots of the sugar cane.

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