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You Were Clear and Calm | Hans Arp, 1944

Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Ascona, 1925


You were clear and calm.
Next to you, life was tender.
When the clouds were about to cover the sky
your gaze moved them away.

Your gaze was calm and careful.
You gazed carefully at the world,
the earth,
the sea shells on the beach,
your brushes,
your paints.

You painted the bouquet of light
that grew,
that broadened,
that blossomed forth,
unceasingly on your clear heart.
You painted the rose of tenderness.
You painted the star-spring.

I often saw your profile as you worked,
before the window
before the distant sea.
You would always work carefully.
I saw you attentively bowing your head,
your head full of pearls of dreaming.
You carefully dipped your brush into the paint.
You carefully mixed the paint.
You attentively drew the lines.
You attentively colored the drawings.

You breathed calmly.
Your eyes were radiant.
Tenderly without trembling you would open the door
to light.
I often saw your profile as you worked,
before the window,
before the olive trees,
before the distant sea.

Sometimes you beat your wings and laughed,
as you kept on working.
You wanted to frighten me.
You were pretending to fly away.
But the picture progressed
and it was always a bouquet of light.

You left clear and calm.
Near you, life was so tender.
Your last painting was done.
Your brushes were neatly put away.

Hans Arp, 1944

*
Arp's wife, the artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp, died in an accident (stove, leaking valve) in 1943.


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