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After Theophile Gautier (1811-1872)

It is not you, madame, whom I love,
Nor you, Ophelia, nor you, Juliette,
Nor even you, Laura, with ash-blonde hair
And large soft eyes, gentle as a dove’s.

The one I love just now is in China.
She dwells with her aged parents far
Away in a blue porcelain tower,
By the river where the cormorants are.

Her almond eyes accent her beauty.
Her foot is small enough to hold in your hand.
Her skin reflects the copper of the lamps,
And her tapered nails are carmine red.

Her face looks out from her lattice screen.
Touched by the swallow as it flies each
Evening, she writes her verses, and like a poet,
She sings of the willow and flowering peach.

© Alice Park 1993
Published in Blue Unicorn Vol. XVI, Number 3, June 1993

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