A Woman’s Portrait 1938

The painting conveys her exquisite taste:
ear studs, bracelets, green and yellow selendang;
the sash conceals her pregnancy.

The death she is carrying can’t be disguised.
The life she carries will grasp and cling on.
Yearning, restlessness and the turmoil of fear
are not recorded in the brush-strokes,
pencil outline of a face
surrendering to the flow of history.

The painting, with its final brilliant gesture,
only fully reveals this face
when it is framed by memory.

July 1989

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Comments (4)


Good and interesting.


first i see , then i can give any speach about it.

frances hoeffel

We used your poem as an inspiration to write in a Older Writer’s class in San Francisco yesterday. Wonderful

Ruth Ferez

I love it, and very enlightening. 

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