Sunday, November 4, 2012

the lady at her dressing table

image source

finger dips into the
palette of white
lets the powder
fall upon her nose

silent maid takes
a square of velvet
snips twice
a black heart flutters down

pasted on her cheek hides
an angry pox, which
refuses to heal
despite repeated bleedings

neither she
nor her wordless maid
knows that the
powder that aids her

complexion with such a dewy charm
will steal more blood
from her cheek, her lip
than the festering sore ever could

lead-poison will eat
away her lifeblood
but will lend her cheek
an innocent shade

(not like the pallor
 of the dead, 
a color she'll soon attain)

so the silent maid spreads
the white death where
the lady cannot reach

bits of lead fly through the air
and quiet death catches at her hair


  1. What a beautiful poem! It is so awful to think of the lead on old makeup. I wonder what nasties lurk in modern makeup we don't know about.

  2. I suppose we can say "well they knew no better" whereas today there are a myriad nasties we consume, drink, inhale, wear and are exposed to and protection from them is minimal. The poem was beautiful and telling with a strong message for all of us. Do we learn from our mistakes? I think not. Humans have always been risk takers.

  3. Man doesn't need any outside forces to become his own enemy.....

  4. Breathtaking work..I wonder how long you sat and looked into this seems now that your words are the only truth..I am right there with her..putting on her face..the imagery was a little reminiscent of our dear Alice too..Jae