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,
from her bed
on the balcony
through scrolled wrought iron railings
to her tiny school in Curepipe.
So teach them art,
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
The Kanaka crater
finding nature’s art.
Finally you painted
with them. En plein air
eyes deep in the earth
roots of the sugar cane.