Daily Archives: September 3, 2018

Trick of the Light

Standing
in groups of two and three,
they shuffle their feet, clutching
copies of the gallery catalogue. A few
might surreptitiously sneak a glance
at the page about me
to see
what the experts say
then with varying degrees of
pretension and sincerity
they speak of
my smile.
Many agree
that it is reminiscent
of the Mona Lisa’s so called ‘mysterious’
twist of the lips. They search for
meaning in this.

Warming to their game
where words are plastic swords
meant not to wound but entertain
the players babble blunt banalities,
clashing torn and ragged clichés
as they describe disparities
between our portraits;

the way her gaze
is constantly on every face 
– no matter where her viewers stand,
while I am caught in a faraway fantasy,
yet always, as they turn away,  my eyes
seem to swivel in their direction.

It makes them shiver,
but it’s only a trick
of the light.

My creator was
a visionary who believed
that I would evolve into my own unique design.
She drew my lines lightly in warm pastels that reflected
the promise of a Botticelli’s sketch, but
sticky fingers grabbed the canvas,
brushing their hues over me.

Scratch my surface
and you will discover
a dozen semblances of this face,
reflecting every school from cold realism
to the lily-fresh hope of art-nouveau.
Each illusion contains a
modicum of truth;
an inch or so
of me.

When I reached this gallery
I needed to be categorised. I look like
an English dreamer
an ethereal Pre-Raphaelite
yet they placed me amongst the Impressionists
since I was shaped with bright lines
creating a sense of reality
by employing
a trick
of the light.

If you were a painting, what kind of painting would YOU be? Any thoughts on this?

©Jane Paterson Basil