Poem by Melissa Balmain

(Théodor Rombouts, 15971637)

 Théodor Rombouts (1597–1637), A Drinker with a flask, Oil on canvas, 72 x 58 cm, Whitfield Fine Art, London, UK


At first blush, you’re a party boy fresh from a night

of carousing with corseted wenches—

in the watery light, your expression is bright

as you raise up the tipple that quenches.

But a closer inspection reveals that your chin

has been shaven of stubble this morning,

and it seems that your grin may be starting to thin

after many a minute adorning

a face that—it’s clearer now—isn’t so young;

and your biceps have probably tired

as the bottle, sans bung, has just hung there, and hung. …

Yes, your zeal for this scene has expired.

Still, the painter’s your friend—or is willing to pay

you to pose—and the booze smells sublime,

so you’ve promised to stay, feigning fervor all day,

the Heineken man of your time.