Physiognomy

by Colin Whyles

I am sure that nothing tells this man
his face speaks of the weariness
of a punishing life unrelieved
by the comfort of laughter;
as would a cartoon face map
the contours of its character,
relating its history and also
outlining its future paths.
I am sure that the weight of his jowls
pull no more heavily from the mass
of his experience nor from
the frequency of his frowns;
as would his caricature tell
of the missed opportunities
slipping from his oily grasp
into that dream-world as they fell.
I am sure of the mismatch between
the face and the nature, the twist
of the ink and the straightness of furrow,
the portrait and the canvas beneath;
as would the line of the draftsman's pen
sketch a story on every wrinkle,
each line a lie concealing wit
wrought from life's malevolence.
I am sure that nothing tells this man
his face refutes every word he speaks,
nor would his parody represent
the inner soul, as truth demands;
as I am sure I would not desire
to grow into the face I show
but would rather it grew into me,
unmasking slowly over time.

Copyright © 2020 Colin Whyles


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