Wednesday, May 19, 2004

National Portrait Gallery

The faces of the dead who live,
Forced in oaken frames, painted
Close in oil, washed with
Pale, correct temperas, follow
Across the room with eyes
Of surprising humanity.

In our colored thought, we see
Them in a daily life our own:
Digging for a dollar or
Forgetting a grocery list,
More than feeble saints, they say,
Is what consumed us. Made of flesh,
Now pigment, we too had our
Days of indolence and tincured
Anger: thought sex, ate love, had
Our children dearer than the earth,
And then were nothing. Were we
The chosen seed or did we dream?

Only these pictures stand with us
Between our lives and faceless dark.

Copyright 2004 by David King.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.

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