Bright Golden Girl (with a meagre scattering of thoughts on La Gioconda, La Belle Ferronnière, Lady with an Ermine, and Das Bildnis Adele Bloch-Bauer I)
The eloquent Florentine borrowed with his brushes
The beauty of their knowing eyes, their bending lips,
The breathing beauty of their wills, and subtle blushes;
Still this reflected light did they themselves eclipse.
I'll never hesitate to say
That every real girl in every way
Surpasses so much lead and verdigris,
Burnt umber and dioxide manganese
Spread into lips that never breathe a sigh,
And eyes behind which no desires lie.
Though every hour gives birth
To sixty times a thousand girls on earth,
And only once or twice in one world's life
Appears a painting like Giocondo's wife.
But still — Who cares?
If silver were ubiquitous as sulfur,
We'd still prefer her for a host of wares,
And higher in our estimation hold her.
Yet you above the common mettle rise,
Above the silver medal prized,
You seem as true gold metal in my eyes;
Whose worth's not solely based in scarcity,
But untarnishing stability,
And long-lasting conductivity;
As fair as it is rare
And glorious everywhere.
You think I’m joking, listing all these traits?
Or that I now bring a woman down with golden weights,
And will with the weeping Midas find too late
That a real girl surpasses every way
A gold encrusted icon every day?
I don’t seek to sarchophagize,
But as a monk in scriptorium who scrimped
A store of golden leaf to emphasize
The beauty of one theme, so I would metaphorize,
Illuminate — not bury you in gold like lustful Klimt.
The lifeless element illuminates my theme
As this world weighs to heaven as but a dream;
Yet weightless, parables that better story
Of living, breathing, heavy golden glory.
You move untarnished through this world of sin
For God’s all holy nature dwells within;
Temptation’s tensile stresses but produce,
A vessel better shaped for God's own use,
And uncorroded, walking in His light,
His light conduct to those in this world’s night.
True daughter of your heavenly King;
Who finds you finds a costly thing.