Mark A. Murphy

Boy Bitten by a Lizard

Boy Bitten by a Lizard by Caravaggio

Whether a disguised self-portrait,
symbolic castration, or partial
memento mori, Caravaggio plays

both messenger and executioner
with this early coup de maître,
symbolizing carnal love, adulation

and vengeance, depicting himself
as a rather effete boy, replete
with a white rose behind his ear,

reacting to being bitten, as if leaving us
to wonder what he might do next
to the poisonous salamander biting

down for dear life on the forefinger
of the artist’s brush hand, half hidden,
emerging amid succulent cherries

where a man might take a fatal blow
to the groin, and bleed to death
in the shadows quite unnoticed.


About the writer:
Mark A. Murphy was born in 1969 in the UK. His next two books, Poems: Precepts and Paradoxes and Word Painting are in the pipeline from Cowboy Buddha Press, USA and Eyewear Publishing, UK respectively. He is currently looking for a publisher for his book of epigrams, Little Known Aphorisms. His work has been published worldwide in 18 countries in over 200 print and online journals. He is the founder/creator and chief editor of online poetry journal, POETiCA REViEW.

Image: Boy Bitten by a Lizard by Caravaggio (1571-1610). Oil on canvas. 25.9 x 19.4 inches. Circa 1594-1596. Public domain.