Painted hands, he recalled, the hurry to leave school.
Marching in single file to watercolour class. Many ponds
approaching an ocean. One name in German that sounded
like the Pacific, went the circumference of a tube of water-based
Far from the meaning of art, the commentary was about
art, pretending not to notice, the running colours. Later
bicycles disappearing into the oncoming cloud, water flowing
towards the opaque borders, a brigade advanced towards him
through Italian sheets. Water soaking the paper, running down
the falling roof, as they were over-run, 1944, the door kicked open,
coffee spilled over his boots as he ran between gardens,
the trees of smoke. Who would have, dying, thought
fifty years later, deeper in water, the Pacific, the faces
of these men still drifting among schools of fishes.
(Painter Tony Fomison’s father fought in the New Zealand Army in the Second World War. During the Italian campaign he came across a watercolour box in a German army base they had captured. He brought the set of paints back to New Zealand and eventually gave them to his son.)