Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Dusk

Together with "Her Perfume" this poem seems to form a kind of dressing-table arc on the ages of woman. I've never put them this close together before, even in my mind. Though I did also set this poem to music many years ago. I remember it as a thin-textured piece of music in which each phrase of the voice part was echoed, a couple measures later, in the pianist's right hand. Symbolizing the mirror, don't you know.

Mirrorward she grays and pales,
Rosy cheeks now freckled, rare,
Shadows falling thus and there,
Flesh transluscent like her nails.
Beauty’s packed her bags and gone,
Leaving her to watch the dusk
Shrunken like an empty husk;
Where went all the glow of dawn?
She could give her hair a curl,
Overpaint her spotted hands,
Switch to stones from silver bands—
Yet be nevermore a girl.
Evening’s come and won’t repent:
Painted petals, sunny gems
Won’t unbare her barren stems,
Nor repay what time has spent.

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