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Portrait of the Poet as a Not So Young Man

The portrait above was drawn a few days ago on Shop Street in Galway by a talented artist from Melbourne... on looking at it after I thought of the title of the play "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and thought of a melancholic twist to that as I reflected on the past few years which have been eventful to say the least. Life takes its toll...
The portrait above was drawn a few days ago on Shop Street in Galway by a talented artist from Melbourne… on looking at it after I thought of the title of the play “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” and thought of a melancholic twist to that as I reflected on the past few years which have been eventful to say the least. Life takes its toll…

In slow distaste
I fold my towel with what grace I can,
Not young, and not renewable, but man
~ Thomas Kinsella “Mirror in February”

The white hair, welcome, comes in greater numbers
No matter or not if the welcome is there
The black gives way to a growing grey
The hair that once was fair.

The fair gave way to a darkening brown
That became black as a boy became a man
Cutting downly dark stubble from a teenage chin
With a clumsiness never lost as only a young man can.

I sat upon a stool on a Galway street
A wandering artist warts and all drew
Portrait of a poet he only knew as a stranger, a man
Words spoken between artists of different mediums were few.

Both men masters of the pen
In their own mind: let others the truth declare
I’d sat before on a Faro street
For another wandering artist there.

I, younger, looked on life with ambition and hope
Difficulty was opportunity, to be fought
I worn, broken, repaired again by life
This time I solace from lifes trials sought.

The hair gets lighter, the heart heavier
Each cut of life’s trials makes man weak
He who once the dance of life pursued
Now the couch and sleep does seek.

Am I old before my time
Or is this passing weariness a phase
A rest needed before the fight, the dance, anew
To be prepared for during these melancholic days?

The fields beyond the river are not green
Make the most of where you are while you can
Thinks the poet, pondering the losses of what was fought for all those years
As the artist draws a portrait of the poet as a not so young man

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