Her Nails

A poem by Edward Powys Mathers

She is as wise as Hippocrates,
As beautiful as Joseph,
As sweet-voiced as David,
As pure as Mary.

I am as sad as Jacob,
As lonely as Jonah,
As patient as Job,
As unfortunate as Adam.

When I met her again
And saw her nails
Prettily purpled,
I reproached her for making up
When I was not there.

She told me gently
That she was no coquette,
But had wept tears of blood
Because I was not there,
And maybe she had dried her eyes
With her little hands.

I would like to have wept before she wept;
But she wept first
And has the better love.
Her eyes are long eyes,
And her brows are the bows of subtle strong men.

From the Arabic of Yazid Ebn Moauia (seventh century).

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'Her Nails' by Edward Powys Mathers

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy