Matthew Lumley

A Painting Of The River - Poem by Matthew Lumley

Where are the adolescents, the teenagers?
I see only naïve youth and insecure middle age
A woman in a cottage whose mother died at ninety
A man in a car who thought he lost his kids
Lovers by the lake, whose love is old
And a child atop the mountains
Who sees what we cannot
And paints a bright picture with messy strokes.

But where are those whose eyes are opening like a newborn’s
Who are timidly learning the other sex, or even their own
Who have started to feel the cold
Who have wailed at misfortunes tiny from bird’s eye view
Who no-one, no-one, will ever understand
Angry, confused, world anxious
But who stand, or shuffle awkwardly, by the river nonetheless
And who, like the rest,
Sometimes swim in it, naked.
Yet I see no adolescents, no teenagers
In this landscape of published poetry.

They are crying furiously, shouting from behind the reeds
So no-one thinks to paint them in.
But you cried there once, before my time,
Tested the water shyly, and swam.
Have you forgotten?
When you paint your picture?

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Poem Submitted: Friday, December 3, 2010

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