The Painter Transfixed, I bow before art’s magic splendour, enraptured by the glory of such hues, enchanted, charmed beyond all human measure, possessed by master’s clarity of muse - transported to a scene of worldly wonder, the light expressed within, a living thing - colors bold to capture mood asunder, and shadows with life’s honesty do ring! Inherent are man’s feelings and emotion. My joy is touched by tears that gently fall. This beauty is so moving my devotion is captured by a canvas on a wall. Inspired by Paul Peel's "The Young Gleaner" 1888, above. (The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario) The Stranger Forlorn I sit and watch them pass him by; I do my best to not break down and cry. He’s been there now at least three hours or more and sky is full of winter’s frosty hoar. He’ll freeze to death before he’ll come inside. It seems the poor, distinguished man has pride. I tried to tell him pride will bring him down. My pleas were met with disapproving frown. “Without my dignity, where would I be? The souls who pass me by don’t really see. Their foolish prejudice just makes them blind. I’m here to help them, gentle heart to find.” I shook my head and left him to his fate. What could I do, but watch and simply wait? The crazy coot believed that he was right. He sat there all day long and through the night. At last, a stranger stopped and spoke to him. The tears I’d held inside began to brim. With gentle hands they guided him to car. The shelter wasn’t really very far. I prayed that I had done the proper thing, when suddenly my ‘phone began to ring. “My precious child you’ve sent him to a home, the others passed him by with hearts of stone. Don’t question what your mind told you to do. He’ll see the light, as others will, through you. Sometimes the hardest choices that we make are ones about which righteous path to take.” With trembling hand, I gripped receiver tight. It couldn’t be; my heart slammed hard with fright! “Fear not,” the voice said gently in my ear, “I haven’t come to make my people fear. But all men surely need to pass the test so fear and hatred then be put to rest. You’ve given all you had and that’s my word embodied like the freedom of the bird. You know I feed the tiny sparrow too, so think, my child, how much I must love you. The easy road’s not always for the best, and at the shelter I will find my rest.” Dawn Munro is a writer and poet living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. These poems are among the entries for the Society of Classical Poets’ 2012 Poetry Competition.