Early Self-Portrait

(painted at 82)

For an instant in the life of time
He looks half aware but is not.
Tomorrows will take him into their shadow;
The shadow he cast shall be removed.
All that he did shall be unproved.

It’s there in the tale I give him,
Drawn like a longbow, head to toe,
Arrow at cheeky and ready to sing;
But time will tell that it does not.
Instant hands have severed the string.

Why do I paint him as an archer
Delivered from his vision’s aim?
Only the withdrawn hands might know
That remove his picture so they can be
Their galleried selves more instantly.

And the light goes out like a looted name
In a studio they never found
Where the gift a shadow painted
Led its pillaged life, and apparitions
Collapse on the wall and there’s no sound.