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Trafalgar Square: a song

If you could read my mind

‘If you could read my mind.’

Trafalgar Square in London is softened by the almost transparent air of summer-time England.

An artist – a portraitist – readies himself for the day. He sits on the northern rim of the square. Who will happen along and ask him for their portrait?

He waits.

Soon a girl, a girl from far-away lands – from somewhere to the east of Eden  – appears. She asks the artist if he might draw her portrait.

She is so beautiful, so graceful. She’s like a golden topaz on soft grey velvet – a wisp of fragrance in a white and crystal world. Words give way to silence. Nothing can catch the edges of her exquisite presence. She sits in front of the artist.

He is transfixed by her beauty.

He cannot move his crayon.

He holds his head in his hands: the pleasure of despair.

He closes his eyes and remembers a lecture he once heard at art school; he remembers hearing how the great philosopher Kant declared that the most supreme beauty was only to be found in nature. He thinks: ‘Here, in the cherry-blossom girl, is a beauty higher than art.’

He opens his eyes and stares beyond the prism of the girl into the infinite.

She waits. She waits and waits. Shyly, she looks at the ground.

No words are spoken.

Together they wait in silence.

From within, the artist hears the melody of an old song; he hears the line: ‘If you could read my mind.’ At that moment he feels a terrible sadness.

She waits…

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