header image


Art model

Watercolour Woman

 Watercolour woman
Her eyes filled with ink
As she looked at the ghost
Of a girl in her sink

The paint was still wet
And it fussed up her face
Clung in circles ’neath her eyes
And the place where she slept
Was the bed she was born in
For comfort she looked
For the first rays of morning

Had lemon iced hair
Which drip curled away
From her face like ice-cream
In a generous display
But the subtle vanilla
Egg whites of her eyes
Were shot through with red
Like a fisherman's prize

Was a sensitive girl
Never went out to play
Her voice pianissimo
Soft like sorbet
And beautifully flawed
Like a shell without creature
She moved like a seed
And no-one could reach her

A surplus of life
No-one came to her gate
And the stars (they still are)
Quite unsure of her fate

DylanInsubstantial Pageant are proud to present a tribute to Bob Dylan for... well, actually not quite winning the Nobel prize for literature. But, if he had done, it would have been richly deserved, and so we are fronting the website this week with the poem Watercolour Woman. It may not be Johanna or the Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, but we do our best.

Rowland Scherman on assignment from The US Information Agency, 1963; downloaded from Wikimedia Commons

Art Class Model
Lucia spends her days packing groceries in a store
A run-down little shop in a run-down little town
And she meets up in the evening
With an off-beat bunch of friends
Who you don’t quite feel at ease with 
If you're honest with yourself

To see her in the street she is really nothing special
Just a person that you walk past on your way to somewhere else
And she’s living with her parents
In some sort of social housing
Though you’ve never really asked her
You just know that’s how it is

But when you see her at the art class stripped of every preconception
In a pose that holds the eye of every person in the room
Then you know she’s something special
And you’d better pay attention
Or your drawing won’t do justice
To Lucia – studio queen

There’s an aura she creates that pervades the art room space
As you try to catch the magic of her presence in your work
See the looks of concentration
As the lines caress the form
Not a murmur in the room
As the images take shape

And remember who you owe when you look back on your drawings
And give thanks to the model who made your materials come to life
And maybe take a moment
To consider what she’s up to
Now she doesn’t do the modelling
At the art class any more

Lucia spends her days packing groceries in a store
Just a person that you walk past on your way to somewhere else



Ride on the paper lung railway
With cotton steam puffing from its throat
Ride to the last destination
On a folded origami boat

Ride on a paper plane climbing
Pilot’s license assured
Cutting a Heaven-bound runway
You’re the only passenger on board

Aphrodite Aphrodite in a Blue Silk Dress
See how you enter, your head held high
Your past left behind you, now you're one of a kind
With your gowns and your finery, a vision no less
You are Aphrodite in a blue silk dress

With your cool expression and your bearing so poised
And suitors around you paying homage at your feet
You are Helen of Troy gazing out from the walls
On the turbulent waters and the thousand ship fleet
Aphrodite on a gilded seat

Now think of the goddess made flesh once again
From long in the shadows (though never unseen)
Would we hang on your words on some prime time chat show
Haunted by your image in its ephemeral glow
Aphrodite on the TV screen

Go back to those frames hanging safe on the walls
In museums where beauty bewitches us all
And pilgrims pay homage to the brush stroke goddess
Aphrodite in the blue silk dress

librarian Librarian
I contemplate Miss Stapleton
Caressing musty pages in hushed, reverential silence.
Her name transmutes base prose to love poems
Gifts for my distracting muse.
Might coral lips be coaxed to smile if our fingers touched
Handling a slim volume?
A painstakingly slow courtship
Beneath the frowning sign
‘No Talking’


All words and images © Insubstantial Pageant 2007 - 2011 unless otherwise stated