Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A COURTESAN'S BIRTHDAY, by ROBERT AVRETT



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A COURTESAN'S BIRTHDAY, by            
First Line: Marie, hand me a mirror; I must look
Last Line: Who knows the profit that tonight may bring?
Subject(s): Aging


Moi, j'ai la lèvre humide, et je sais la science
De perdre au fond d'un lit l'antique conscience.
—Baudelaire, "Les Mètamorphoses du Vampire"

Marie, hand me a mirror; I must look
To what the years have left me. Each one took
Some charm, but still I'm glad the passing years
Have left so little trace of all the tears
I've shed. These wrinkles art may yet disguise
From all but hostile or too curious eyes.
I've really kept my figure very well,
All things considered—more than one will tell
You that I'm beautiful. I don't regret
The past, and why should I want to forget?
I claim that love, like life, is best when new—
One night, a final kiss, and then—adieu!
But to be well established, have in tow
A wealthy legal lover? ... Well, I know
That such a thing was never meant for me.
If I am not content, I ought to be,
For I, at least, have lived—a note you say,
Marie? Ah, yes, the broker comes today.
Fat pig!—if he but didn't try to sing!
Who knows the profit that tonight may bring?





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