Tuesday, 18 November 2014


“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” - Oscar Wilde

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, disappointment, disillusionment, grief, loss, despair…

Below is my contribution to the Poetry Jam poetry meme, where the theme this week is “Identity”.

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.


  1. what an honest flow & how very true!!!..."I am that which I am; "..I totally agree with this part specially asI am indeed a state of consciousness..nice lines :)

  2. very strong emotions of what we actually are and what we actually become.

  3. layer on layer...get through one layer and there is another, a thicker armour...a deeper mask....how many layers do we have to peel to really get to who we are...and who do we allow to get there? any one? is it just hurt that we are afraid of?

  4. Your poem has me reflecting on the masks people wear, and I wonder sometimes in people's writing why some people completely hide behind them and never show any facet of themselves in their words. But then again, as your poem says, we all wear masks to a certain extent...perhaps, as you said, if someone asks another to remove one mask there is another one right there below. I do wonder if a person is ever totally maskless, even to himself/herself. Your last couplet was eerie...I don't think a person should ever have to be what someone else has made them.

  5. ah yes the honesty of this poem has a spiritualty that takes us right back to the genesis story, can we help it; the inherited urge to clothe ourselves

    have a good Wednesday

    much love...

  6. We all hide behind a mask but inevitably the real you will shine through.

  7. this is very perceptive and close to the heart. Honesty is perhaps the most forgotten quality. Well done.

  8. I guess we all hide behind some kind of camouflage but the thinner the better. With time it is maybe easier to be who you truly are. The pressure from outside seem to be lighter, ot perhaps we can just avoid them more.

  9. Wonderful write, Nicholas. I can identify with what you write, but I was thinking as I was reading that this poem is especially true of the famous people around us. We see the image they present, which to a large extent is what the public wants. A film star or a rock star is what their public want them to be not what they truly are...

  10. Powerful write. Creepy image! Suits the poem though….

  11. I enjoyed the rhythm of this and the repetition. The idea and message is well expressed.

  12. Nicholas,

    Uncovering, or unravelling the real truth can be difficult and perhaps impossible, to those around us; when we generally seek to retain the truth of who we really are..Layer of cover-up, hardly ever revealed, even to oneself!!
    Great images and words...

  13. Nicely written. Loved it. We do indeed have many layers - box in box in box, nesting dolls. But we are in there somewhere.

  14. Highly inspiring poetry...very well described the crisis between the inner truth and outer look

  15. we are what other's want us to see and I think that is helpful sometimes to survive in life


    Now following your blog

  16. Elegant. Wonderful take on this prompt!