Improving on the Masters

Improving on the Masters

Surreptitiously, I raise the quill to make a thin gray line
to festoon the drawing that is not even mine,
then tuck my small utensil securely in my purse.
Nightly I make this journey, and nightly I rehearse

what I will say if caught at last, imagining the worse.

The art museum’s climate—chill and dry and dark
gives way to summer’s damp heat as I hurry through the park,
find my car and drive away, speeding ever faster
lest I be finally detected, improving on a master.


Prompt words today are festoon, surreptitiously, quill, utensil, thin, climate.

15 thoughts on “Improving on the Masters

    1. lifelessons Post author

      Ha…This is actually prompted by a story of a famous artist who would sneak into art museums at night to change the color of certain elements of his paintings. Can’t remember who it was.. trying to find out.


      1. Sam

        Michelangelo went back and repainted sections of the Sistine chapel ceiling which he felt that he could improve on. Also Rembrandt always repainted his work, over and over again many times, and this is how they can tell that it is a true Rembrandt, by taking a little chip out and counting the layers. And “Banksy”, (a pseudonym), would sneak around at night and spray paint graffiti like paintings on the walls and bridges, they were so good that he would then photograph them and sell the the photo for a lot of money. See the documentary “Exit Through The Gift Shop”. But I do not know the person you wrote the poem about unless it is YOU, but I will keep an eyes out for the culprit~!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. The Inkwell

    Your poem, “Improving on the Masters,” struck a chord with me. Your use of the quill as a tool for artistic expression is inspiring. Your words convey a sense of reverence for the masters who came before, while also expressing a desire to add your own unique touch to their works.

    Your fear of being caught in the act of “improving” on a masterpiece adds an element of danger and excitement to the poem. It made me wonder if there is a part of us that is always looking for ways to improve upon the works of those who came before us.

    At the same time, your poem made me reflect on the importance of honoring the past while also making room for new ideas and perspectives. Your use of the quill, a tool from the past, to create something new, is a perfect example of this balance.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem and for inspiring me to reflect on the importance of tradition, innovation, and the beauty of both. 👍👏👌😊


    1. lifelessons Post author

      And thank you for your intense perusal of my poem and for adding to it with your insights. I was born to an era that still had inkwells in the school desks! They never actually held ink bottles in my time but they certainly held a number of other things and I bought some lovely containers for dry ink blocks in China. I love the tools of art almost as much as the art itself.



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