she was an immaculate understanding of beauty
and made art blush a thousand times,
and the painter's brush
and the sculptor's spurl
could never quite possess her,
even in their minds.
she retired to Colmar and Vienna
never resting, never testing
the waters of time,
although they say she adored Florence
and left more men doting
than Tuscan mothers did bear,
and Cupid wept all of Styx
when his noxious darts
fluttered not lips or hearts.
she chanced upon Zhou in Zhaoge
and left his soul in want of want,
and all his queens could not delight
the wanton thirst of Jahangir.
and so pleasured yet, and yet untouched,
the virgin maid of Gaia's cruor
witnessed the world upon Sleipner
and slept by mortal maidens all,
whispering into their quiet dreams:
a love for each, a love in reach,
and thus every man's fall from grace
began upon yearning that changing face.
there she hangs upon my wall,
all the passion of Ilium's scattered ashes,
all the virulent venom in Iago's gall,
all the enticing verses of Fakhruddin As'ad
in strokes of imperfection
which sew intent into my unfinished senses
which legions of men before me
have sought in vivacity and vain,
yet Ithaca still remains a dream;
a star on the horizon of Marmara;
and gradually I begin to understand
how her absence holds my ever hued hand.