Portraits Poetry Series 40: A Man, A Child, and the Distance Between Them

In case you haven’t been here before, I love writing prompts – whether a list of words, one word, or even an image.  With these posts, I have written poems specifically about paintings and I hope, with my words, you see the scene just as visibly in your heart and mind as if you had seen the image itself.

 

Portraits Series

 
Man and child sit together
The boy grips his knee
The man’s arms are across his chest
Furled brow, stoic look upon his face
What lines have been etched?
And what truths carved them deep?
What is the distance between them –
Man and boy?
For surely the man, was once a boy
His thoughts were fleeting
His feet tripping in the wind
And nothing could stop him
He was pure of heart
Never completely innocent
But a youthful soul
And time bore wounds
He’d never tell
He is sworn to silence.
He hides behind fake grins
And a bit of him dies
Every time he wears them
It is a cloak of sorts
As if shaking off old skin
Replacing it –
Not with new layers
But a chainmail shroud
Where unsheathed pains
Can never enter
And those buried
Can never leave
The man sits expressionless
His arms across his chest
The boy grips his knee
One is sheltered from the pain
Or so he thinks
And the other
Has yet to learn.

© Sumyanna 2016

 

The inspiration for this poem: I was enjoying a photograph of Charlie Chaplin and a boy sitting on the stoop from the movie The Kid.  Just in case you wanted a hint to the photo 🙂  This is not in any way based on the movie or the characters, just a retelling of the story of the photograph from my own imagination.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. M.Gin says:

    He was pure of heart… never completely innocent. I love this line! Because youth does not always mean or signal naivety. This reminded me of that same portrait! And I was right! Haha. Nice poem!

    Like

    1. Sumyanna says:

      So glad you caught that 🙂 I normally write for photos or paintings of lesser known artists and prefer to keep the artwork unknown. When I read this – I enjoyed remembering the photo it came from 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. M.Gin says:

        I loved it! Sent all kinds of memories and emotions back. Thanks. 🙂

        Like

  2. 7128788elf says:

    This is a most moving and sublime poem. I feel great to have read it, and will remember it for a long time to come. Thanks for posting it on your blog. Charles.

    Like

    1. Sumyanna says:

      So glad you liked it Charles! Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 7128788elf says:

        Pleasure, I maybe should have shared it, but am still trying to get back into the swing of things, so rushed on to see what other wonderful pieces I could find.

        Like

        1. Sumyanna says:

          No worries Charles – you should never feel obligated 🙂 Hope things improve soon for you!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. 7128788elf says:

            No, I only re-blog poems that I really love and that I feel should be read by more people.

            Liked by 1 person

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