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Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Madonna

My Madonna

Robert Service

I haled me a woman from the street,
Shameless, but, oh, so fair!
I bade her sit in the model's seat
And I painted her sitting there.

I hid all trace of her heart unclean;
I painted a babe at her breast;
I painted her as she might have been
If the Worst had been the Best.

She laughed at my picture and went away.
Then came, with a knowing nod,
A connoisseur, and I heard him say;
"'Tis Mary, the Mother of God."

So I painted a halo round her hair,
And I sold her and took my fee,
And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire,
Where you and all may see.


Seraphine said...

i try to see the best side of other people.
but too, i feel blessed to find there are other people with imperfections, families like mine, carnations gone to seed.

gfid said...

sera - yes, peoples' best sides are worth looking for. i have very fine hair, that tends to fluff and frizz... i've been described (fonldy, i thought) as a dandelion gone to seed.

gfid said...

errr.. that's (fondly....)

susan said...

I believe that in making an effort to recognize the best in people we help both them and ourselves to be better than we may imagine ourselves.

lindsaylobe said...

I note this fine Scottish poet spent time at Dawson- presumably you have a book with his verses ? . It a very nice poem but I was intrigued with the reference to the church of St Hillair? – presumably that was an intentional spelling by the poet.

I thought it might have referred to the church of St-Hilaire-le-Grand dedicated to St Hilary – first bishop of Poitiers but I’ m not sure- not that it is important

Best wishes

Gary said...

Love it...good old Robbie Service.


Seraphine said...

it's funny how some people think fine-featured faces are more beautiful than faces with full, ripe features. and its the same with hair: thick wavy hair is prettier than thin, straight hair, or vice versa. tanned skin is better than pale skin. brown eyes are more attractive than blue.
of course, we know its a matter of preference, or accceptance, or whether one likes exotic looks or not.
beauty is in the eye of the pot holder.
and sometimes, especially with women, we are more critical of our own looks than we are with others.
your dandelion-seed hair is undoubtedly beautiful, gf.
i'll be sure, however, to turn my face is i sneeze. for health reasons, to be sure, and courtesy.

gfid said...

su - i think a lot of what we see in others depends on how we perceive ourselves. either way, kindness works.

lindsay - yes, robbie service spent some time in dawson city, where i also lived for 6 years or so. he was actually a bank, clerk, though, at theCanadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and never actually did any of the things he wrote about. he just listened to stories in the pub, and wrote about them brilliantly. another of his that i like is called 'the three bares'. i'll see if i can find it.

gary - yes, good old robbie. i used to be able to recite a lot if his stuff from memory. it was a pleasant way to while away a cold winter's eve with friends in bygone years.

sera - "beauty is in the eye of the pot holder" love it!!! yes, so subjective... and so quick to change too.