At Times I Think I Am Dorian Gray. Poem by William Jackson

At Times I Think I Am Dorian Gray.

Rating: 4.7


At times I think I am Dorian Gray.
Moreover, I know my inner self all too well.
However, I have no portrait to hide away,
And the truth of my life my face will tell.

In the mirror my darksome visage shows.
Like Narcissus I longingly gaze at my reflection.
I seek a Faustian bargain, hoping no one knows,
Perpetual youth for my soul, my great satisfaction.

Like a graying vampire that dyes his hair,
I have lived all of life, and it has become stale.
Even so, I do not want to die but lustfully care,
Hoping to seize vitality by enacting this tale.

I want what I cannot hope to remotely obtain.
Beauty and aesthetics matter more than ever.
A Helen of Troy I should like to gain,
But unlike Paris, I shall not rue the day I find her.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Nalini Hebbar 15 July 2006

you made me work hard to understand this poem...referred two words...dorian gray and Faustian...and at last i understand! ! ! ...you are as young as your heart mind and soul...beauty is only for the eyes...helen of troy...quit trying! ! ! ...i worked hard to give you this ten...lol...but was able to enjoy the poem in the end...love nalini

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Prathibha Nandakumar 15 July 2006

william i loved this poem prathibha nandakumar

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Will Barber 18 July 2006

A poem which resonantly connect many legends. Beautifully written.

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William Jackson 22 July 2006

Dorian Gray at the very end of Wilde's novel self-destructs when he realizes that he is utterly broken and nothing is going to change that. The man, the speaker in my poem, is certainly ill to the degree that he does not understand that the love of a woman is not going to fix him. I just recently finished reading 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' and was thinking about the real life personal troubles of Oscar Wilde and the devilish bargain Dorian Gray, Wilde's narcissistic character, made to remain young. Faust came to mind as being an archetype of a Dorian Gray, and I thought of how Dorian Gray in the novel was really in love with more of an ideal woman, a Helen of Troy, rather than a real person and consequently ended up bitterly disappointed while scorning and rejecting the potential for real love with a real person. Then the idea of the whole poem just sort of jelled in my head, and I had to write it down from the perspective of a man who sometimes feels like Dorian Gray but has no portrait to conceal the damaging effects of his debauchery. The thing I love about writing poetry the most is that I can forget myself completely and can assume the voice of a character that is nothing like myself. People sometimes assume that all poetry is confessional, but it simply is not true. Poets do not have to tell the unvarnished truth, i.e. thoughts or feeling representative of their own lives, nor are we required to write only about wholesome themes or unobjectionable things. For example, although I have some narcissistic tendencies, I am nothing like Dorian Gray or vampires and certainly do not feel as though life has become stale, nor do I really feel the need to find my own Helen of Troy. However, I did enjoy asking myself, 'If I were a man who sometimes felt like Dorian Gray, what would that be like? What would he be like? ' I frequently write poems from the perspective of people who are making poor choices and are thus committing immoral acts, and I have had some people confront me and ask me how I can do that. I have challenged them to read below the surface and find the anguish in the narrator's voice, the internal struggle, and to note the consequences that have resulted or that the narrator knows are coming. I also remind them that art is neither specifically moral nor immoral. Sometimes the lesson the reader learns is something he/she has brought with himslef/herself to the table. Oscar Wilde stated this best when he said in the preface to his novel, “The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” I think the same is true of poetry. It is either written well or is written badly. When it comes to self evaluation the question is, 'Which is it? ' I for one am not a very good self critic, and thus I appreciate it (at least in theory) when critics of my work are completely honest.

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Sandra J. 12 January 2008

I believe this to be fairly unique.

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Simple Simon 05 September 2006

I saw the film, 'The picture of Dorian Gray' when I was young. At the end he feels sick of his long life and gives up his life one day. The ugly old face in the portrait is transferred to his young face. His young face is transferred to the portrait. Am I correct, William Jackson, as my memory is short at this distant date. This shows familiarity breeds contempt. The more we enjoy on material things, we get soon bored with them.

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Moon Batchelder 05 September 2006

how beautiful...love the comparison of inner self-knowledge to the picture of damien grey and the contrast of it with the stark fact that our true faces do appear..the other references as well...faustian deals...helen appeals...very nicely done...i'd give it a ten

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Michael Gale 05 September 2006

To be or not to be, that is the unquestionable question on man's mind all the time. The other quest or question is how to survive to unlimited time. T'would be ever so nice to have a painting that ages instead of thyself. Mirrors of man who ages could then be uncovered if not only we men could uncover the facts which would lead to immortality. Only then would we be of a more hospitality's open house. This write was well thought out as well as well written. 'Tis better to be bitten by the bug of poetry's words written. I gave ya a ten 'cause you have accomplished a real poem of excellance. God bless all poets and their artistic accomplishments in life-MJG..

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Linda Ori 27 July 2006

William - one of my favorite movies - 'Picture of Dorian Gray'. I especially like the ending. I think we all fantasize about immortality, especially when mortality is staring us in the face! It's difficult to age gracefully, and I'm dragging my feet all the way! Clever piece, and very nicely written. Linda

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