Thursday, February 28, 2008

Epitaph for a Romantic Woman

It is perhaps a cynical remark, but the older I get, the less romantic I am, and the less romantic I am, the easier it is to live in this world and with other people.

And yet, the romantic hasn't been beat out of me yet. She is alive, still, even if she has artificial lungs and a pacemaker. The pacemaker suits her; a heart that beats forever is the maudlin ideal.

If I had a visual personification of Romantic Belle, she would be everything I have supressed in my real life incarnation of the tough, together aspiring academic who has everything under control. She uses wide, flat silk ribbons as bookmarks. She wears lemon yellow and coral pink and more jewelry than is tasteful. She stubbornly persists in wearing soft, full skirts that swish slightly from side to side as do the heavy heads of fully-blossomed lilies in the breeze, despite the fact that such skirts do nothing for her figure. She giggles, with one hand over her mouth.

She is, in fact, who I used to be. There is still some of her yet. It's a hard habit to break. Although now I just use post-its or dog-ear my place in books and wear streamlined pencil skirts.

Epitaph for a Romantic Woman
by Louise Bogan

She has attained the permanence
She dreamed of, where old stones lie sunning.
Untended stalks blow over her
Even and swift, like young men running.

Always in the heart she loved
Others had lived,—she heard their laughter.
She lies where none has lain before,
Where certainly none will follow after.