Drawing Hands

Drawing Hands

For Owen

When we are deeply in touch with the present moment, we can see that all our ancestors and all future generations are present in us. Seeing this, we will know what to do and what not to do – for ourselves, our ancestors, our children, and their children.

                                                                                   — Thich Nhat Hanh


Come upstairs, down to great Grandma Boyle’s room. She got her smile from you and she’s always making something out of nothing – usually mischief.  Across the landing, in the room next door, great Grandad Price is teaching you five-point perspective, just as you showed him. He takes your pencil from behind his ear where you left it before you were born.

sleight of hand

and rule of thumb

in that armchair

depth is not

the only illusion


There I am, at the boarded-up window, watching the birds that I’m still too young to name. “Swifts!” I cry, just as I always did.



without making

a mark . . .

yesterday screams by

on tomorrow’s wings


Dad, four years old – see how he has your brother’s ears? Why not sit Dad on your knee while you draw Popeye and Mickey Mouse for him, just like he used to do for me and my sisters? Tell him how he’s going to love to go to the Saturday morning picture show.



of mercury . . .

the slightest touch

and the drawing

comes alive


Do you feel that figure brushing by? One of your favourite artists hangs a print in this distant room . . .


drawing each other

on the blank page

of the finished work

we are what we are

yet to be and always were


Author’s Note
: The title is taken from the lithograph by M. C. Escher (1898-1972)

Haibun Today 6:3, September 2012


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