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Portrait Poem By David St. John

Portrait Poem By David St. John

There is in his daughter’s gaze
A solemnity so elegant
It must seem to some
The very definition of love
Though her profile guards
Any true window to emotion
Any genuine reflection of
Her understanding of her father’s
Objective protective despair
As her beauty is shielded
By white & her lips in their easy
Parting draw back
From any kiss now
She is watching in the distance,
Of the chapel a whole narrative,
Beginning to assemble
One which finds the breath
Of the huge organ an unholy
Accompaniment its
Bellows moaning heavily over
What just a moment ago
The virginal & clear morning
Had promised to unveil forever
Yet which (now) the white day
Seems so certain to withhold

David St. John
first published in The Kenyon Review, New Series, vol.
XXI, no. 2, Spring 1999

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