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This poem is taken from PN Review 232, Volume 43 Number 2, November - December 2016.

Drawing Lessons Jeffrey Wainwright
after John Ruskin      for Brian Maidment  

‘Now if you can draw that stone,  
you can draw anything’

look your stone antagonist boldly in the face



I do. I mean, I try. I falter but do not fall back.
I will valiant be! It is not my pencil,
nor my hand but the bounds of my attention
that have no membraned stuff tough enough.

How does a stone wait for us? At the ready?
Why does it antagonise so? Resistant
to all entreaty, obduring, yet what might
it relieve us of? What could it pillage?

Then why must I stand up, why try to seize
and satchel the likeness of a stone?
Is this how to live on the earth about us,
believing a stone is honoured by a line?
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