The Portrait

An expressionist painter made a portrait of death. In the picture, asymmetrically divided between day and night, death nonchalantly wandered through the swift, rough brushstrokes of golden grain, ploughed earth and cobalt blue sunlight, sowing one third of the land and reaping the surprisingly ready grain of the other third. The black coat of the bonehead was lightly dusted with hayseeds, straw and dust. The bonehead appeared to be lecturing the tares, or singing. Beyond the white gleam of the scythe, a hollow and almost hexagonal moon of metal shone. Dark twisted firs and shadows spiralled in the distance towards the sea. At its first exhibition, an old friend viewed the painting, shaking his head as he spoke to the painter. Death is not a peasant. Death is a merchant.

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