Posted by: okathleen | December 15, 2008



The light lingers on the left of his face.

It opens his eye to the colour of soft moss.

Broken by the bridge of a broad plump nose, the light ends.

Knee to knee they sat, and down he looks at the paper page.

The scribe writes the story so far, in succulent strokes.

The sitter resigned; succumbs, and a flick of hair escapes.




Mummy said.

Mummy said wouldn’t it be just wonderful to have a portrait of you darling. So I did. This is me, by me.

Is this how I see me, or is it how she sees me, or is it how I want to be seen?

I look nothing like this. The old sideburns are quite white, and my skin never recovered the ravages of the pox.

And my nose, I’ve been rather generous with that too, but not quite as generous as with my chin.

And the Titian red, had to get that in of course, my legacy.

I ponder my gift and strut and puff  in my painting forever.

I have a meeting at 3. Time management will be top of the agenda. Then I need a starting point, a form/format/plan. Proactive, constructive thinking and writing is needed, which is easier said than done whilst sitting here frowning out of the window at some charming long tailed tits. Three or four of them pendulous in the branches, seeking out their lunch above the iced lawn. A robin squints at them. Balanced on the tip of a decaying tree stump, its feathers are puffed out and brilliant brick red. There’s a squabble going on in the cruelty of crows above. It’s so difficult to concentrate, to retain, or even achieve a focus. And now there’s a mousy thrush gobbling holly berries. Or is it a thrush? There’s a cream stripe above its eye… Come back, yes, the agenda… what format. I’ll think about that while I stir the onions, and empty the grate.



  1. I love that first little painting of that guy! Brilliant color and lighting. You can feel the emotion of this character.

  2. They’re both very nice pieces – the Etty and the Freud. I’ve played with them a bit and think both might be strengthened by giving the reader an extra last line, so that ‘forever’ stands on its own, and more strongly, ‘ A flick of hair escapes’, because it then seems to bring the poem round to one about human choices and deliberateness: the deliberate act of painting, of sitting, all somehow put in perspective by the the wantoness of the flick of hair, which can’t be controlled and makes its own choices. They really are both very nice pieces, and thoughtful in contrasting ways, and I’ve enjoyed re-reading them in the privacy of my own office etc. I aslo enjoyed the bookies stuff. I like tales of degeneracy.

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