To Paint the Portrait of a Bird
By Jacques Prevert
First, paint a cage with an open door then paint
Something pretty.Something simple.Something beautiful.Something useful.For the bird
Then place the canvas against a tree. In a garden.In a wood.Or in a forest
Hide yourself behind the tree. Without speaking.Without moving.
Sometimes the bird will arrive soon. But it could easily take many years. For it to decide
Wait. Wait if necessary for years
The rapidity or slowness of the arrival of the bird
Has no connection with the success of the painting
When the bird arrives.If it arrives.Observe the most profound silence
Wait until the bird enters the cage. And when it has entered. Gently close the door with the brush...
Then. Erase one by one all of the bars. While being careful not to touch any of the feathers of the bird
Then make a portrait of the tree, choosing the most beautiful of its branches.
For the bird Paint also the green foliage and the freshness of the wind.The dust of the sun
And the noise of the creatures of the grass in the heat of summer
Then wait for the bird to decide to sing
If the bird does not sing
It's a bad sign
A sign that the painting is no good
But if it does sing. It's a good sign
A sign that you can sign
Then you gently pull out one of the feathers of the bird
And you sign your name in a corner of the painting.
Bird is the Word!