portion of the artwork for Margaret B. Ingraham's poetry

To Paint the Purple Finch
Margaret B. Ingraham

When the purple finch clamped himself to the limb of my butterfly
bush and there against the flowering branch looked more a
magenta hue than his name construed—and both were so beautiful
and nimble, he in his instinctive grasp and it in its submissive sway
beneath the wind—I thought I should sketch the scene, longing not
only to memorialize that moment but just to paint that purple finch.
At once I began to reason my limitations: my utter lack of skill
with parsing and paring perspective and articulating any space
beyond the foreground. Perceiving right horizon—that is, the
manner and place in which it is marked and measured; and how we
see it from our fixed positions; and how deftly painters reduce it to
one prime horizontal line, by reference to which the painting’s
whole universe is then defined—was perplexing. I could not settle
solely on one. Nor apparently could the finch, who took wing on a
late buoying current of the subsiding wind, and caught my eye
again and held it close until his tiny crescent torso was lost in what
seemed to me the reaches of oblivion, but rather were to him the
thousand places at least that he understood the earth and sky meet.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 34 | Fall 2011