Beauty Sleeps

Masked Olivia

The sleeping lady whose closed eyes

Conceal the wisdom of the wise

Contain the laughter children know

And barricade a world below

Keeps in closed eyelids cool release

And in her heart a realm of peacegraphite drawing

5 thoughts on “Beauty Sleeps

    • I originally wrote the poem in response to a very different artwork, a lovely decorated life mask my grad school colleague and friend made of his sixteen year old daughter Olivia. Libbie was such a sweet and charming girl (and came to live with her dad 5000 miles or so from home in Australia during his grad studies, so I was privileged to meet them both) and the mask so peaceful that the poem arose from that ease and affection. The ceramic mask broke in the kiln–the reason I cadged it off of John successfully when he was hoarding his work like the other two of us for our thesis exhibitions–and later it broke further, so I had no good photo of it with which to illustrate the poem and went with a more universal type for the occasion of publishing it.

      Of course, your question immediately brought John and Libbie happily to mind, but also ‘Who is Silvia?’, one of my favorite Shakespearean songs, especially as set to music by George Shearing. My husband’s University Singers performed the Shearing set this spring and it’s on YouTube–go to 9:00 to hear just the setting of Who is Silvia, if you like:

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