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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!

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