Portrait of Life (Poem)

The Journey Begins

Art by Daniel Lieske

When I was young I held my first paper and crayon.

Then I drew a picture that I spent the whole day on.

Little curls and colorful shapes littered my landscape.

Little bubbles with scribbles in them stood for what mom and dad say.

The sun was bright, and the figures were bland,

but you could tell that one was a girl and one was a man.

That was my life.  I drew the grass as green as emeralds,

But then a few years later all the other ten year olds

told me that the drawing didn’t really look fantastic,

so I made some changes, but nothing too drastic.

I changed the house to look more like my own:

A poor little trailer in a field on it’s own.

I put a halo on my dads head and gave him wings and a white gown.

Then I erased the trees and waterfalls to add a little town.

Now I was proud again, because this represented who I am,

but that changed again during my art class exam.

My grades were low so I wanted to draw it even better.

I changed the blue sky into some dark and moody weather.

I had to draw the shadow that always followed behind me.

I splattered ink on the ground as the blood to remind me

of the struggles that I’ve been through.  Then I adjusted

the amount of people, leaving the few that I trusted.

Now I had a depiction of life as I knew it.

Pain and love were the things I knew truest.

But then I was in college and I was short on sleep.

So instead of something new, I just decided to cheat.

After much digging, I turned in the same picture,

but all I got for that was an F and a lecture.

My professor told me all the changes that I needed to make,

as well as all the things that make modern art great.

So I shut myself away from the world for a day.

I changed every color to be closer to gray.

For every wrinkle that I etched to a grandparents face

was one less year until they are permanently erased.

I put my mom on the opposite side of the drawing as me,

because unfortunately we’re not as close as can be.

I lost my belief in god, so I removed my dad’s halo and wings,

and every music note, because nobody sings.

I had to erase the spark inside of everybody’s eyes,

because in real life every inner child dies.

I changed the rainy summer into rolling thunder autumn.

I lit up a match stick, and charred away the bottom.

I used charcoal to make smoke that blots out the sun,

because in my mind the warmth of humanity is done.

Then I removed the outline from the figure of me

that represents every characteristic that I could be.

Now I just blend in seamlessly with the rest of the world

with no girl by my side. I drew my pride in a messy swirl.

Then I took the paper and crumpled it into a ball.

This represented the globe that simply contains it all.

I give it to the teacher and he hands me an A.

So why is it that I don’t feel as good as the day

when I drew my mom and dad, a happy husband and wife?

I have a portrait of art now, but that was a portrait of life.


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