Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Brain Stain

Were you a member of the SPAB,
and they were marks on a wall,
in some ancient hall,
you would imagine their cause
as originating behind the plaster,
perhaps in the tannin of an old oak beam,
golden brown among the cream
and would ascribe their appearance
to levels of humidity in the atmosphere
and would not dream of interference.
They would indicate age,
and the porous, breathability of lime,
you would not regard them as a disaster,
you might think their mottled look charming,
and of ‘Glory Be to God for Dappled Things’,
you might even hold them dear.

But on a forehead, it would seem,
though melanin might be tannin’s twin,
it is not regarded with such reverence,
though it indicates age and the passage of time,
its stippled appearance is alarming.

And your options seem clear:
make the marks disappear,
buy L’Oreal,
BB Luminize Cream,
‘Enriched with liquid Light,’
which ‘illuminates the skin’,
as if with radiance from within,
while keeping blotches out of sight,
by ‘reducing the appearance of irregular pigmentation,
with a perfectly nude and luminous finish,
and a weightless, bare-skin sensation'.

Or, you could imagine them brain stains,
left by the tide
of age;
the marks of a sage,
a dot to dot,
which, when joined up,
become an abstract, pointilliste portrait of wisdom.

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