Birgitta Abimbola Heikka

Veteran Poet - 1,838 Points (Lagos, Nigeria)

The Painting That Keeps Changing - Poem by Birgitta Abimbola Heikka

An old dying neighbor, a good friend, passed onto me
the painting of a ship stagnant on sea-
a beautiful carrier owning a graceful, streamlined bulk.
The sea is calm and clear on which she resides
and happy, hippo lights hop on its top reflecting
in the shimmering water features of the elegant lady.

At this piece, hung right above my bed, my eyes rested
each morning when I awoke.
With lights that calmed me the sea shone, and the ship entranced me
Soon, each minute detail of the lady's anatomy I could recall
from memory.

Till one morning after rising from bed, I noticed standing
beside the lady an apparition painted in white
of the half body of a man as tall as the foremast.
I closed my eyes for a few seconds to clear my vision
but when I opened them again, the apparition was still there
standing beside the Miss.

The morning after this, where the back mast stood I now saw a
straight, narrow chair sitting on a ladder.
But that can't be. The mast was there before!
Again, I closed my eyes to clear my vision and when I reopened them
hoping the back mast would reappear, I was disappointed to still see
in its place, the straight, narrow chair on a ladder.

The image of a man with orange hair and eyes like an ax leering at me
in addition, I discerned.
His energetic gaze held mine ransom and I could not look away
My head began to pound as if those eyes transmitted a force unnatural
into my brain.

To evade the sight of the lady whose changes I could not understand,
I began to close my eyes every morning when I rose from bed.
Some two weeks passed before deciding that perhaps the false images
were as a result of a temporary disorientation of my own mind
And with a happy and refreshed spirit did I one morning walked close to the
painting and raised my eyes towards the canvass.

Fear instantly jolted my body with the violence of lightning
The apparition not only stood more solid than it had ever been but
in it's midriff was a wooden face with a long nose
The straight, narrow chair on the ladder had completely taken the position
of the back mast and in front of the man with the orange hair appeared
another figure wearing a pair of blue trousers riding a cat donning a cap.
But the feline was only half its kind for in the water below, laughing
was the face of a shark—its lower half.

My head burned as I gazed at the false images that were, slowly, overlaying
the originals.
The bow of the ship had suddenly disappeared during the two weeks since I last
laid eyes on the lady; in its place was the image of the hangman
- a person of the past—
dressed in a black robe and wearing an equally black hood.
Suspended behind the hangman an effigy floated
dressed in a white robe wearing an equally white hood.

Many and incomprehensible were the changes.
Opposite the lady's deck stood a figure on a rock facing a wall only
it was not really a wall but a slab that seemed to rise from inside
the symbol's mid-half.
In front of him or her for I cannot tell the gender stood a person of religion
painted in brown, long robe, holding what can be assumed to be a Holy Book.

Reflecting inside the calm, shiny water a new face surfaced—
long with flourishing mustache that rose from his upper lip and,
like a wrapper, covered his nose.
His lashes were equally in need of a comb or scissors.
Just when I was about to look away from the enchanting but
pernicious painting,
I distinguished though the glossy glass standing on the ocean floor upright
a single shapely leg of a female clasped in a high-heeled shoe.

Into my brain, the simulated images
transmitted massive amounts of energy
and I felt my head swimming
inside the water.

Topic(s) of this poem: imagery, narrative

Form: Free Verse

Poet's Notes about The Poem

A true experience written in a poetic form.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 9, 2016

Poem Edited: Monday, January 25, 2016

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