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A Woman in Venice

Her face, partly obscured by a cloak, she looked at me -
As out of another century – eyes five hundred years old
On her cheek, staring sadly at the young, as if her
Years had been fed and scattered to the pigeons on the square.
She mumbled strangely in Italian, her words barely audible -
Putting a hand to her wrinkled face -
“A man serenaded me here once -
When I was young, he declared that my beauty
Put everything, even Venice in the shadow.
My eyes were legendary, see they brighten as I say this -
And a painter from Florence vowed to immortalize me
Forever if I would but agree to marry him…”
She had fled some Italian gallery in Venice,
Escaped the gilded cage of one of the frames of the Old Masters.
A face from fourteenth century Venice,
That I would not have seen – eyes into which I would not have looked,
A gaze looking out at me, which did not take me in – 
Eyes that stared blankly, but saw neither I, nor my century.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018

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