A portrait in oils

A Portrait
Portrait, John Lyons (oil on canvas)

A portrait in oils

Once in a while
           you may come
to resemble
           the portrait I painted
of your youthful face
           using principally
burnt umber
           upon titanium white
with a hint of cerulean blue
           for the eyes
and a trace of red
           for the lips set against
a deep cadmium
           yellow background

Of course it’s not you
           but merely a series of strokes
hints of what you might be
           or might were once
mineral and translucent
           or opaque and of the earth
and of the sky
           the body and soul of you
of what you are here to express
           in your thoughts
and words
           and in the flesh

It means nothing
           as it lies on canvas
and awaits
           an appreciative eye
a smouldering mirror
           alive with intent
devised with all the warmth
           of my hand and deficient
only insofar as it betrays
           the limitations of my gift

John Lyons



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