Monday, 26 December 2011


“No mask like open truth to cover lies, As to go naked is the best disguise.” - William Congreve

How many times in our lives it is necessary for us to conceal what is in our mind, what is in our heart, what we really feel in our soul, and present to the world a picture that is acceptable for the circumstances… Our public mask whether a cheerful one, whether one of well-measured composure, or one of self-assured competence is one that may hide below it pain, bitterness, despair, disappointment, disillusionment…

This is my contribution to the Magpie Tales poetry meme.

I Am What I Am

You ask of me to bare myself –
Remove my public mask
Reveal my hidden side,
Shed my chameleon cloak.

You ask of me to doff an armour
I have worn so long it feels like second skin;
To cast off artifice, duplicity,
Discard my cultivated image.

You ask of me to trim my tresses,
Make you a gift of my vulnerability;
Be rid of my convenient nebulosity
Appear before you naked, like the truth.

The mask removed reveals a second mask beneath it;
My armour shed, reveals a hardened carapace below it;
Stripped of my shifting colours,
I simply show you my camouflage even better.

I am that which I am; what I am, I am not,
I am what you have made me, not what I truly am.

The image above of Marilyn Monroe is by Bert Stern


  1. good work. Love the quote in the beginning, especially.

  2. Very well done! Yes, conformity is a uniform we all don at times for the sake of peace:)

  3. I agree... sometimes there are so many layers beneath the mask that the person doesn't even know who they are.

  4. I really enjoyed this - your phrasing is just great - "To cast off artifice, duplicity,
    Discard my cultivated image" - the flow and use of the words to complement such a picture and such a muse - that last couplet is so apt - "I am that which I am; what I am, I am not, I am what you have made me, not what I truly am" - it rings true for so many as well! great job and nice seeing this on magpie tales! OT

  5. Thought provoking, entertaining, beautifully composed ....

  6. Wow. Deep, deep. Really hit a nerve. This is an amazing piece.

  7. I couldn't do this one. We were little children when my parents' female golden girl icon died and they took us to view the fresh red rose always over her vault of ashes in Forest Lawn where she lay buried, breathing breath from those luscious red lips no more. And we puzzled over her sad beauty, her conversion and fleeting peace that couldn't be contained for lack of the audience in magnitude she suffered so much for. Oh, I couldn't write a stitch about her, no. But you captured her essence, the fragile human essence, so wonderfully well.

  8. nice dance in that last stanza...I am that which I am; what I am, I am not,
    I am what you have made me, not what I truly am...she truly was a product of that...

  9. This is beautiful...I am what I am but you insist I be what you wish...but still "I" am

  10. Thought provoking write...we all tend to wear a little mask now and then...

  11. I enjoyed the depth in this piece and the hard hitting last lines. Tragedy in glitz.

  12. This is well done - a comment on layers of pretense hiding, nay protecting the vulnerable child beneath.