Her Portrait

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Were I an artist, Lydia, I
Would paint you as you merit,
Not as my eyes, but dreams, descry;
Not in the flesh, but spirit.

The canvas I would paint you on
Should be a bit of heaven;
My brush, a sunbeam; pigments, dawn
And night and starry even.

Your form and features to express,
Likewise your soul's chaste whiteness,
I'd take the primal essences
Of darkness and of brightness.

I'd take pure night to paint your hair;
Stars for your eyes; and morning
To paint your skin--the rosy air
That is your limbs' adorning.

To paint the love-bows of your lips,
I'd mix, for colors, kisses;
And for your breasts and finger-tips,
Sweet odors and soft blisses.

And to complete the picture well,
I'd temper all with woman,--
Some tears, some laughter; heaven and hell,
To show you still are human.

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