Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Old Guitarist


A man is made out of love, or out of music,
If he is made of anything worth being.
But that means that he must be sick
With sadness when love is only a song.
She left me for another and then she died.
Her lover beat me about the head when I cried.
I was defenseless but for this old guitar,
In what had always been a one-sided war.
I wrote a song to forgive her, her treason,
But it has robbed me of my soul, my reason.
You are the face behind my heart, my beloved,
And once were the frets beneath my fingers.
But now they fumble, as if they are gloved.
There is only this of you and me that lingers.

Note: This painting, at the Chicago Art Institute, is a famous example of pentimento. Picasso painted a beautiful woman, and then painted the image of the old guitarist over her. The effect, not apparent in this image, of the woman's vaguely visible outline, suggests the guitarist is singing about her, remembering her.

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