Sunday, May 31, 2009

First paint a cage
with an open door
then paint something pretty
something simple
something beautiful
something useful
for the bird
then place the canvas against a tree
in a garden
in a wood
or in a forest
hide behind the tree without speaking 
without moving 

Sometimes the bird comes quickly
but he can just as well spend long years
before deciding

Don't get discouraged
wait years if necessary
the swiftness or slowness of the coming
of the bird having no rapport
with the success of the picture

When the bird comes
if he comes
observe the most profound silence
wait till the bird enters the cage
and when he has entered 
gently close the door with a brush
paint out all the bars one by one
taking care not to touch any of the feathers of the bird

Then paint the portrait of the tree
choosing the most beautiful of its branches
for the bird
paint also the green foliage and the wind's freshness
and the dust of the sun
and the noise of the insects in the summer heat
and then wait for the bird to decide to sing

If the bird doesn't sing
its a bad sign
and a sign that the painting is bad
but if he sings its a good sign
so then so gently you pull out one of the feathers of the bird
and you write your name in the corner of the picture

Written by Jacques Prevert - Pour faire le portrait d'un oiseau. 
Painting - Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuniga by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes

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