The Artist

she was a goddess
curator of memories
an image shaper
a former of creation
she painted in our attic

I stood on a chair
to get a better look at 
the strange visitor
standing by our garden pond
shaking hands with mum and dad.

Plaited in her hair
a weave of tiny mirrors 
catching the sun’s rays
sent out coded messages
like in Secret Seven books.

I felt let down at
suppertime when Dad told me
she was not a spy
but just a ‘modern artist’
renting one of our attics.

I did not know love,
what it was or what it is,
but the artist woke
something in my soul before 
I even knew I had one.

Three small flights above 
a vibrant world lay waiting 
for me to explore. 
An escape from school day grey,
On The Buses. Beans on toast.

I crept the staircase
wanting a keyhole glimpse of 
that magical place.
Her paintings filled the landing.
I knocked a couple over.

The door burst open, 
“Do not touch! Don’t speak! Sit down!”
I found a corner,
“Do you like jazz?” I nodded, 
hoping ‘jazz’ meant chocolate.

Ella Fitzgerald
wept from the artist’s Dansette,
“… I die a little…”
The artist wept too. Gentle 
tearing splashing her palette.

I watched in mute awe
as her magical brushes
worked the canvass.
Reckless flashing random strokes
became wondrous images.

My three favourites:
a Scarborough holiday,
gazing at the sea 
through a rain running window
daughter beside her, sulking.

Visiting Grandma; 
wearing a black Sunday dress
sitting on a stiff backed chair
dunking éclairs, drinking tea.

A derelict house;
(I reckon her childhood home)
behind its crumbling
facade she captured a sense  
of yesterday’s glory days,  

the births, weddings, fights,
home-comings and funerals.
World Wars One and Two.
It outlived them all. Until
the day of the wrecking ball.

The artist moved out, 
dumped her keys in a fruit bowl. 
Mum and Dad have gone, 
lying in adjoining plots.
Not one of them said, ‘goodbye’.

The paintings remain,
etched in poignant memory.
And as I reflect, 
remembering the music, 
Louis Armstrong and Ella,
especially Ella, 
the attic’s peace is punctured
by my attempt at,
Every time we say goodbye
with just a little sighing… 


© coolhermit 2023
Views: 1354
no comments or critique sought.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

You’re a lazy bugger when it comes to commenting but you’re a brilliant writer. Lovely, lovely piece. That chocolate jazz bit and many others….lol . Cheers, ch, albert, 🙂


Bloody censored! Heh! I can not believe it!!


Re your original comment which I got via email, we all, not only you, get lots of views and precious little if any comments. This used to be a really vibrant group and it would be great to see it back on form. Having been away for a number years and coming back and reading the discussion boards it would seem yes, people are pissed off with the likes of you. I mean would any of us be writing if we never got any feedback, any little morsel of encouragement to keep us going. Would you still be writing if… Read more »


Didn’t know your history here so i suppose it’s a blessing at least you are posting your stuff. Re encouragement I’m talking about when you were starting out. When you are on the way to becoming half decent did you really not have any encouragement? Did you really not need any encouragement? Anyways regarding myself I’ve reached the stage where I’m quite content. People can like what I post or lump it. I’m never going to be a proper poet because I want to have some fun. If i can give someone a smile that’s made my day. It’s nice… Read more »


I see you now, r, you’ve painted a good picture. Will shut me gob and wish you all the best enjoying one of the cheapest hobbies on earth. Isn’t brilliant not having to go shopping for metaphors and similes etc. If you do happen to come across any of my stuff just remember i love most of it dearly despite how high it reads on your crapometer, heh! Cheers albert;-) (feel free to say what you want though. Egriff tried very hard to drag me away from myself. He never succeeded but i respected him for it.)


Ha! It takes all sorts. At least your happy in your penury. Long may it be so. Cheers and good for you. albert 🙂


Well that seems pretty reasonable, R. When you criitqued here before was that how you did it or were you a bit too pushy. If you are able to say something positive and then gently suggest something without any insistence involved then do you not think that you would be pretty helpful to folk who were interested in improving? I mean as long as you don’t come over as all knowing pain in the arse then it would be really good. If you’re not sure about someones motives to write you can ask them. If you get a laugh from… Read more »

Flag Content