Yes it is the magical things of life that I love to draw and paint - the daisies that spring upwards to the lark, the toadstools that burrow in the soft breasts of the mosses, the church spires that tilt, and the lace curtains that hold the tiny spiders in a village cottage. I love the robins and their nests, the musicians of the fair, the dancers of the streets, and the buskers. The little monkeys on the barrel organs fill me with amusement.
Ragamuffins Of The Streets
I love all clowns and dancers, but above all, I love Harlequin, and it is he, whom I seek always, to paint his sweet sad face - his gentle eyes and pointed hands. And to sense for a moment his magic, his mystery: and so through the streets of the old city I have wandered with the ragamuffins who would dart forth from the shadows and after begging for a penny, clutch my arm and look at me appealingly.
Have you seen Harlequin? I would ask them, but they would shrug their shoulders and rest their heads on my shoulder as the silver mists of the day gathered around us like a damp cloak and clippety-clop of our feet on the cobblestones resounded round the latticed windows. Sometimes I would wander down to the steps of the old city, which led to the river where the barges lay in dark grey waters and the early moning light cast its purple rays over the fishermen and their nets.
In front of the stone walls the gentle flower people would ply their trades. Some would sell flowers, others, old beads or feathers or pieces of china from a bygone age. "Have you seen Harlequin?" I would ask most sweetly hoping not to offend them. "He is somewhere" they all agreed. Will you buy our flowers? they would call out. "We sell marguerites and daisies and colombines and roses." I would smile and hurry up the stone steps but before I did I would look again at their faces and their hats and cloaks of patchwork of vivid hues. Sometimes they would snatch the drawings in my hands. I knew they would add them to their collections of varied bric a brac.
Goodbye, I would call, hoping for a response. "We do not know where he dwells, they said, but he sits under the white bridge when the sun rises, or on the cathedral steps or sometimes on the back of a wild pony."
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I Talked To A Little Boy With The Mosaics
As I passed the flower sellers, I saw sitting on a doorstep, a small boy holding a squirrel, mosaics and earthen pots were behind him and the colours were of burnt sienna and raw amber-cobalt blues and browns. It was like a palette of brilliant earth tones and the lights of the shop were like diamonds behind him.
He did not need to talk for with his feather and his pointed hat and his purple jacket he was secure. Have you seen Harlequin? I asked. He did not answer as the blue light of the morning, like some diaphonous scarf passed over his face. He pointed to the bridge beyond. "Goodbye" I called. He remained sitting, looking beyond the places that grown-up mortals seek. His brown eyes twinkling.
The Young Rooster - The King Of The Streets
One of the ragamuffins had followed me from the flower stalls. His face was like a gentle fox, lean and pointed and his skin was the colour of a grey balloon, for the sun had not kissed his face nor warmed his hands, but his eyes were as bright as sapphires and he held his head like a proud rooster. I could see that the smaller children admired him for he was King of the Streets.
You'll find Harlequin at the fair, he told me. Somehow I did not believe his mischievous eyes, but I handed him a penny for his words. Night had taken possession of day and I slept; but as the first rays of the morning sun reached my small room, I gathered my bags and pencils amd made my way towards the river of the city.
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Harlequin Loves Animals
Donkeys from the markets were carrying their fruits and flowers to the stalls of the fair. The white silver animals were proud of their baskets of marigolds and lemons and they trotted quickly over the bridge. One of the donkeys began to eat the flowers which settled in friendly clusters near the feet of someone sitting under the bridge.
Are you Harlequin" I called. For I knew that Harlequin loved animals, dogs, cats, horses and especially donkeys. He shook his head and stood up - his yellow trousers were the colour of the brightest moon. He waved to me. He was fleet of foot and I could not catch him... "I only wish to draw you" I cried. He had gone and the suns light broke into a thousand particles over the city and fell like bright popcorn over my head.
On a summer evening my friends invited me to their gardens. Some of us beguiled by the thought of colourful dress attire bedecked ourselves in vivid clothes and jewels. The bright greens and blues of the gardens, matched well, our costumes as the humming birds darted into the pink mouths of the lillies underneath the summer lanterns. I noted well the people as I drew their faces and hands. "Sweet Harlequin are you here" I wondered.
One tall youth, with fair straight hair, wore a feather that matched his eyes, "Are you Harlequin," I quietly asked. I could hear the music of the spinnets and lutes in the background. There was a wisdom in his face, a sadness in his eyes (for Harlequin, I have been told has all these things).
The Alazaron blue of his costume was of such intensity that when he ran through the trees, it was as if a bluebird of the night was leaving me. In another corner of the gardens where the hill sloped down to the stream, the evening dancing had begun near the fuschia bushes with their bell-like flowers as two swaying figures (dressed alike) moved silently to the gentle music. "You are dressed like Harlequin" I called - "Are you he?" They answered with a leap and a dance, and with one shout both disappeared into the turquoise night.