The gallery is closing – I’m in the first room down the hall,
Studying second-rate oil masters whose names I can’t recall.
Angels, dryads, scenes of love hang from wall to wall.
My friend waits at the doorway, watching me all the while;
In her eyes a look of warmth, on her lips a knowing smile.
But there are too many paintings! Too many exiles of fame;
I’ve no time to see them all, feel their spirit, know their name,
But who is Jesus, who is Socrates, beyond what witnesses claim?
And if I can’t hold onto these strokes of passion’s toil,
Whatever will become of these moments set in oil?
Is it arrogance to hold on, to play saviour for a day?
I can’t save them from oblivion, for I too will fade away.
To be, or to remember? To wander, or to stay?
If meaning needs a memory, then for all our valour, we
Must hope some god is watching from his private gallery.
A guard’s waiting with my friend, and we pass around a smile.
He leads us out the door, then we stroll a little while
Through the beauty of a city decked in autumn’s fleeting style.
The gallery is closing, friends – see what you can see
It may reopen tomorrow, but who knows where we’ll be?