Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO RODIN'S STATUE OF AN OLD COURTESAN, by GERTRUDE CALLAGHAN



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TO RODIN'S STATUE OF AN OLD COURTESAN, by            
First Line: Lean, shrunken limbs that were so finely formed
Last Line: Your splendid soul!
Subject(s): Courtesans; Old Age


Lean, shrunken limbs that were so finely formed,
Poor sagging breasts so meager now and gaunt,
Grim, withered cheeks and eyes so piteous
What is your want?

Is it a veil to mercifully shroud
Not shame but only beauty dispossessed?
Life up your head and meet their staring scorn
Who have not guessed

Of ecstasy like yours, who have not fought
The tug of human passion that you knew,
Nor felt the urge that dragged you to the depths
And blindly slew.

I only know the beauty that once lived
Part of your flesh; the courage and the fire
Within your eyes; the vast, stupendous force
Of your desire.

I still can feel the swiftness of those limbs
Too fleet for timid ways; I see the line
They missed, hair breadth, it lies between
The human and divine.

Sit not as though in shame before their eyes,
So great but so misguided in your role,
And when I pass look up that I may see
Your splendid soul!





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