El Greco’s House



we walk narrow, white-washed corridors
and gaze at hand-carved black-oak beams,
older than these grandfather clocks whose
long hand, short hand mark time
in a distant century.

On an open hearth in a tiled kitchen,
cook-pots hang from an iron tripod.

The original paintings have long gone
but copies of haloed heads gaze down
at us from walls where cobwebs age
with gathering dust.

A goose quill pen and an inkpot
await the maestro’s return.
They are poised to sign the  contracts
that litter the desk with their thick
black promises of wealth to come.

We climb worn, creaking stairs
and visit the artist’s studio with its
three-legged stool, an easel
by an open window, paint brushes,
and an untouched canvas
crackling in the summer breeze:
a white sail spread before a voyage.