Young knucklehead: Today you’ll bruise your thumb
To harden you to pains to come;
The sun will burn; the heat will cause you sweat;
Dust will choke before the sun is set.
When you are good for more than sweeping floors,
In five or six years—maybe more—
Then you may carve in stone your first design,
Perhaps broad lace-work, or a vine.
Should then the master see that you are good
At carving in both stone and wood,
He may allow a job and you your tools:
So, stand sharp, don’t seem the fool.
The master comes. Look how he moves with ease;
A measured grace and force in harmony.


Michael Curtis has 40 years of professional experience in architecture, sculpture, and painting.  He has taught and lectured at universities, colleges, and museums including The Institute of Classical Architecture, The National Gallery of Art, et cetera.  His paintings and sculptures are featured in over 300 private collections; his many public statues can be found in The Library of Congress, The Supreme Court, other public buildings and squares.  Professional experiences include Archivist of State Art (Michigan); guest curator, The Detroit Institute of Art; founder of art galleries; widely published poet; founding director of The National Civic Art Society, et cetera.

Featured Image: “Studio of a Sculptor” by Bossche (Bosch) Balthasar van den

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One Response

  1. Bruce Dale Wise

    Studio of a Sculptor by Balthasar van den Bossche

    Eight painted people are observing in context.
    The youth at left observes th’ ideal nude sculpture,
    a male upholding a female; an elder next,
    distractedly points at some object or picture
    a youth, enrapt, is holding. They, man in red hat
    and boy in blue top, stand below some nude figures,
    beside a guy in gold, who is being looked at,
    some kid, while looking at the woman with a glass
    of water given to a seated man, white, pat,
    her dress red, apron blue, a dog in view. And last,
    a man in orange top, perhaps just slightly vexed,
    observes her too, while chiseling Hercules’ ass
    and a bizarre, ferocious lion grimacing;
    and this is but a curt beginning’s labelling.


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