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Robert Butler

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Storyboards, Illustrations, Music Videos, London, UK

Before commencing drawing,

search out the silvery mines and tunnels of a pencil sharpener.

Snugly lodge the pencil,

rotate it clockwise

against the tiny razored blade.

The shavings will emerge

like a fledgling extending its wings.

They edge gingerly out into the air,

a row of paper-doll cutouts, dancing,

a Japanese fan unfolding,

the sails of ships of the line,

manacles falling from a captive's wrists,

a miniature wooden crown, cogged,

the palisades of a fort,

flower petals, falling,

the flags of all nations unfurling,

a screed of ornate Dutch lace,

the curl of an Elizabethan ruffed collar,

in the museum

the scroll cautiously unrolled,

a bandage unwinding,

the silhouettes of distant hills seen but unreachable,

a forest's edge reincarnating in a graft of wood shavings.

The sharpener cheeps quietly,

a gentle repetitious rasping,

like a small mammal voicing,

until finally the pencil turns against air, lathe-smooth.

A talcum of graphite dusts the blade.

The pencil is now needling sharp, aerial-thin,

ready to arraign or attire

as it hangs like a satellite

over unmarked polar whiteness.