I wrote this poem a long time ago and have fiddled with it over the years. I have a great emotional attachment to it - Cerulean Blue being my favourite colour. The prison walls are the edges of her garden but to her they seemed like a prison. I think the lady in this poem is a little bit of me...wouldn't we all like to escape into a a beautiful painting...?
1660s, from L. caeruleus "blue, dark blue, blue-green," perhaps dissimilated from caelulum, dim. of caelum "heaven, sky," of uncertain origin (see celestial). The Latin word was applied by Roman authors to the sky, the Mediterranean, and occasionally to leaves or fields.
Gathering her equipment together, she knew
And this was the last time she’d paint in blue.
She was just about able
to lift her paint box onto her little table
in a corner of her tiny garden.
Over the years she did succeed
and the flowers were proof indeed
that she turned her tiny prison walls and concrete
into an Italian wilderness of flowers and shrubs
and her arthritic hands had tended the pots and tubs.
She had grown rare plants and flowers that no one had seen.
Now she was going into the garden and placing her easel
where she could see her own countryside; and while
the perfumesof the flowers floated on a scented breeze
her wrinkled face was upturned, warming in the sun’s rays.
She placed a sheet of bright white paper onto her board
Her hat casting lacy patterned shadows onto the paper
While her soul soared with anticipation of her
secret, painting, assignation.
Looking at her old battered painting tubes
she sighed while debating which colour to use
‘Cerulean’ she thought, ‘Cerulean, caelum, heaven and sky.
‘It’s considered celestial’ and her sparkling blue eyes told why
she felt overwhelmed by the beauty of her long life.
Cerulean - the colour of the sky; and so she started to paint.
Her hands shook as she took her brush and dabbed it into a tiny
pot of water where reflections of ripples danced and
the brush dipped it into with a glance, and
she held her brush like a lance
and it was full of a glorious blue…
Latin for blue, dark blue, blue green.
She swept the brush with an arcing sweep.
and here she saw her first tiny peep of
a torn piece of sky - a hole like lace.
Dreamily she wondered
‘what if there was a way through
this secret space into the blue
for me to disappear from view
A pure, painter’s celestial place.
Where I may find one last embrace
So she painted more cerulean blue
her favourite flower garden hue.
In later days, people wondered where
the old lady painter had left her chair
Where had she gone as she’d left no trace
of the painter who had lived all alone in this place.
All they had found was a straw hat and lace,
decrepit pink ribbons and her brush in its place.
They found the water and her easel too
and a quite quite empty tube of cerulean blue