Poem – The Retired Artist (By John Grey)



Such a relief to shut down my temples.

I’m just a roof, some columns,

an auditorium deep but empty.

And, if you’re keeping score,


I forgo the easel, the baton,

and all that writing across time.

If they want me, they can drag me

out of what I’ve already accomplished.


I plan to be flesh and blood, not vision.

My images, my sounds, even my words,

will console themselves with chores,

gardening and the smallest of small talk.


Art? No, I find the onset of death preferable.

It’s the one critic left that I have to please.

I don’t want to be blind Monet or Milton,

deaf Beethoven drowning in silent chords.


And I don’t have enough of Hemingway’s despair

to put a bullet to my head.

I’m willing to wait life out – watch it wind down

like a low-key reprise, a weak-kneed anti-climax.


But no more brushes, no more ivories,

no more pen and paper.

It’s six p.m. time to concoct myself a meal.

Be damned if I’ll create one.


Author Bio:

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Plainsongs, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River Review.