Jornal de Poesia

A painting

and its

versions of the past

Soares Feitosa


When Teófilo opened the establishment, there it was, under the door, a picture. Who had put it there? He remembered of his teachers from the primary school, whom the boys, he included, would callHanna, Allan R. Banks, USA, 1948 “teacher”. No. It was not. 

— Only a résumé photograph, sir. The wind. Who knows, some picture which could have fallen off the basket – said the assistant who dealt with the folders.

The wind. That was it! What do the companies do with the résumés which arrive in bulks? After all, there has been no register of someone who has taken it back. The letters, the photographs, those were different. But that was not a photograph. Neither a letter. A painting, appearing to be genteel: oil on canvas. And in the back, the illegible names of the painting and of the painter.

— This is not a photograph! — Teófilo said.

Hanna, Allan R. Banks, USA, 1948The secretary pushed the subject aside. It could have stopped right there. Some say that Teófilo took the picture and, carefully, kept it. They say that everyday, he would take the painting and put it on a huge glass top table, and he would examine it with a magnifying glass. He would do that again and again.  And when he decided that the size was adequate, he would retouch it using a red pencil, one of those used to mark Cds, the same pencil which he used to brighten the labels of the establishment. What was worse was that, when a costumer arrived, he would immediately ask them if they knew the young girl. Many of them, due to the repetition of the questionings, would anticipate themselves, saying, even before bargaining the price, that they didn’t know the girls in the painting.

— You could have seen her at the kermis, wouldn’t you?  

At the kermis! If there was any chance of these girls would goHanna, Allan R. Banks, USA, 1948to the kermis. No, nobody would know. She was not found. Others assure him that the painting had nothing of mysterious and would have even less to do with a so-called gale, especially because a blow of wind, with the windows close, would have been impossible.

It could be other version: one day, Teófilo reproduced a dream and drafted it in the air. He drafted it on top of one of his legs, just after waking up. In a hurry, he ran to the establishment and put it into paper and sent it, by means of a big reward, to the painter’s society. He even started a context. He gave instructions, this and that. When the painting came, a friend remarked that there was any mention regarding the bottom part in that picture. Really, if you look at it, you cannot guarantee that the young girl has a body below waist. “Of Hanna, Allan R. Banks, USA, 1948course she must have!” Really, there is no one who exists only from the waist up. What about the rest? How could it be the rest of her body?

Some say that Teófilo, from the top of his many demands, would not have complained about the painter’s team, because the indications of the dream would include anything else besides the upper parts, like it is. Teófilo feared to demand something else, let’s say, a new painting, containing the whole body, simply because he was completely taken by the terror of not “meeting” her, if she appeared in new format, from feet to head. In the end, he knew only that part. She showed her outline also, but not so much. Yes, the other sleeve, where it would be? You cannot see it - her hair is long and thick. Very strange.Hanna, Allan R. Banks, USA, 1948

Until one day, a bagman passed on the news about a painter called Allan R. Banks, American, borne in 1948. The painting? The one mentioned before: Hanna. Nothing to do with Teófilo’s dream, which would seem more like a nightmare. The problem is that no-one everbelieved.

Dear reader, please, do not ask me about the ending. This belongs to the past, something totally inaccessible, even to the historians. In fact, if two of them were to meet, just like the literaturecritics, they would immediately disagree. What could be said of the rumormonger who would shake Teófilo’s life and his mysterious painting, night and day? The future, no! This is a peaceful subject, the future. We all know it. Try to put any question in the future form and the answer will be instantaneous. That’s why the warlocks and fortune tellers are all unemployed. Including Teófilo.     

Hanna, Allan R. Banks, USA, 1948


Fortaleza, Ceará, Brasil, 2.7.2005, de noite





William Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905), João Batista

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