While Exploring Le Musée des Arcanes

While Exploring Le Musée des Arcanes

His eyes follow me around the cluttered room,
this portrait of a man from another century—
painted by a skilled hand, fine brushstrokes
though the artist neither signed the work
nor identified their subject.

I gaze into his eyes, this man in a stiff collar
who posed by gaslight before my grandfather
was born, and can almost feel his boredom
and ego, wondering how he ended up in a gallery
in a narrow museum amongst curios and taxidermy.

Isn’t it strange how portraits feel like mirrors
if you stare at them long enough? The background
spins and the light dims and I can almost feel
that starched white collar clutching my neck
and though I wasn’t walking, I trip into the frame.

And now my spirit, never stirring, never sleeping,
never blinking, still is waiting, still is waiting
for some other fool to stare into my eyes once more.

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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23 Responses to While Exploring Le Musée des Arcanes

  1. rothpoetry says:

    A great poem! Love those mesmerizing eyes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That made me laugh really hard at the end! A very nice surprise there. Thanks for that.

    It also has some nice O’Henry type Halloween Spook! It wasn’t Dorian Gray’s Portrait by any chance?

    Nicely crafted

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is difficult for the common man to morph into the frame… for he walks by the building daily in his need for bread… thinking to himself, only the rich, the idle, and fools enter such a building…!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. JeanMarie says:

    Nice spooky ending. Perfect for Halloween night

    Liked by 1 person

  5. berniebell1955 says:

    This would make a good story – it IS a good story – and at the end – trapped, waiting for the next victim. Imagine it…true horror.

    Strangely enough – yesterday evening I watched an episode of Star Trek where some aliens ( as usual very pretty aliens in skimpy clothing) had stolen Spock’s brain intending to keep him to supply mind power for their planet to function – until the next suitable mind came along. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708449/

    I’m not sure that Spock would mind that too much, but for us humans – the worst kind of incarceration.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Cassa Bassa says:

    The magic of art!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. berniebell1955 says:

    And you’re in m’blog…with a seasonal soup!


    A poet’s gotta eat…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. berniebell1955 says:

    There are two more recipes in the ‘comments’ to my recipe for home-made stock – maybe going off-topic a bit – but – well – I likes my grub!
    One of the many good things about having a body to feel with.
    Stuck in a painting, watching folk living – no thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A fabulous poem with great descriptions!

    Liked by 1 person

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