So this must be beauty, form, perfection
Embodied — no dull artist’s expression.
What of Raphael, what of Da Vinci
Then, when compared to her (compared to me)
Or what I shall work of her with a brush and pen?
You see, even Helen of Troy still needs
Homer to sow imagination’s seeds,
To flower into a beautiful bloom,
And to thread the gold through the broken loom.
But Homer, he never held my brush or my pen
And never with pleasure beheld this specimen.
Observe her body’s balanced proportion:
How it keeps itself in all its motion,
How every sigh of breath raises the chest,
How seem supple lips part to kiss and rest
And restless I interpret each possible end
That would send me in shivers down her spine
Erect and measured to make her poise mine,
Round to where she curves subtle as a swell
Upon an ocean, but moves me as well
To such depths where treasures lie yet unearthed, descend
Even further, where my mind’s eye would never mend
The cut of her skirt, well, the wound’s dessert:
Such an injury can’t possibly hurt
When from it flows legs that are white as milk
(And taste as sweet, i bet) and smooth as silk
Without a stocking (thank God) and long; leads me on —
But should ever her shape seem incomplete,
Well, where it breaks the mind will make lines mete;
Give the body harmony and rhythm
And when I match mine how ‘bout a dance, hmm?
But what’s this here, the pinky toe?
The most inconsequential point can pivot the whole
Course — how can this knobbed and gnarled joint
Unhinge all — this petty note but dissonant
Decompose her whole harmony?
But just one imperfection threads
Through the entire pattern;
A frayed and loose end
Threatens what I have strung together,
And unravels and unwinds — what? Time or Change?
Is it that damned toe or is it age
That tears down the image
And makes my Helen seem so old?
What makes the straight back slump,
The locks unfurl and hang
Limp, the lips parch
And crack, the colour of the skin
Pale to a consumptive pallor?
Where did beauty go then
And when did my rhyme
Become an irreverant hymn?