PORTRAIT D'UNE FEMME - Walter Porter Poems


Poems » walter porter » portrait d une femme


Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea,
    London has swept about you this score years
And bright ships left you this or that in fee:
    Ideas, old gossip, oddments of all things,
Strange spars of knowledge and dimmed wares of price.
    Great minds have sought you -- lacking someone else.
You have been second always. Tragical?
    No. You preferred it to the usual thing:
One dull man, dulling and uxorious,
    One average mind --  with one thought less, each year.
Oh, you are patient, I have seen you sit
    Hours, where something might have floated up.
And now you pay one.  Yes, you richly pay.
    You are a person of some interest, one comes to you
And takes strange gain away:
    Trophies fished up; some curious suggestion;
Fact that leads nowhere; and a tale for two,
    Pregnant with mandrakes, or with something else
That might prove useful and yet never proves,
    That never fits a corner or shows use,
Or finds its hour upon the loom of days:
    The tarnished, gaudy, wonderful old work;
Idols and ambergris and rare inlays,
    These are your riches, your great store; and yet
For all this sea-hoard of deciduous things,
    Strange woods half sodden, and new brighter stuff:
In the slow float of differing light and deep,
    No! there is nothing! In the whole and all,
Nothing that's quite your own.
            Yet this is you.