The Tired Diplomat

Mr. Bump and I decided to turn an old piece of art that was hanging on his bedroom wall into a new piece of art by creating some writing inspired by the painting (see below). We settled on a “homecoming” theme, and while we originally conceived a word limit, I ended up writing a poem and he wrote a wonderful short story, called Mothballed that I know you will also enjoy.

The tired diplomat returns home
to find his country’s not his own.
He spots the shoreline from the bow
it once resembled mother’s brow,
now it’s rocky and village dotted,
the childhood dock, dull and rotted.
It’s wobbly with weathered veneer
lacking the poles of Venetian piers.
The door to his cottage, plain and stained,
so small ‘side the porticos of Spain.

He enters there without a knock;
his clumsy key fits rusted lock.
In the corner, his green velvet chair
lacks the polish of a gilt bergère.

On the wall, a local pastoral scene,
minute beside a Swiss glacier stream
and in the bedroom, a sleepy companion,
his mind has long ago abandoned.
Her figure rounded and maternal
lacks the lacings of a German dirndl.
Then on her leg, a stranger’s son,
clung to his mast while chores were done.
Neither turned around to see
the stranger smelling of potpourri.

His sun-cured pipe smoke long since cleared;
it was worse than he had feared.
His treasured homeland once revered,
after nine years abroad, now
all reverence disappeared.

© khartless 2021, All Rights Reserved

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