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Poetry: Portrait and the Past by Aldo de Martelaere

Portrait and the Past

by Aldo de Martelaere

Time has no rate of change
It simply marches on
yet things change all the time
hence time is no thing
but portraits are
even though 
they capture a face 
that sinks without struggle
like an indestructible statue
deeper and deeper
into the past.

Both portraits and the past
enliven reality
through addition and subtraction
become real themselves
via interpretive winks
just like the dead become real
via winks of absence.

Both fool around with abstraction
relinquish likeness to reach the core
and reveal more, both cherish 
the short-lived illusion of presence.

Even family pictures
their sole purpose to enlighten fading memories
have abstract desires, even
easy photography cannot escape 
entirely.

It’s a strangling formal verdict;

nothing lasts
but the past.

About the poet

Aldo De Martelaere studied music at the ‘Conservatoire de Bruxelles’ (his instrument was the flute) and philosophy at the University of Louvain. After that, he first worked at Louvain University and then held various administrative functions at the Flemish government. For the moment, having MS, he volunteers for the Flemish MS league, mainly as a writer for their magazine (topics related to living with that condition). Though Dutch is his mother-tongue, he writes poems in English, because he learned (and learns) most of English poetry and poetry translated to English, what made writing in that language quite natural to him.

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