she lifts her veil: a vision – three rondelets


I was in the Musée d’Orsay last week and took this picture of a striking sculpture by Barrias (Nature Revealing Herself to Science).

(From this angle her limpid marble eyes have a disconcertingly full, yet vacant look, brimming compassion yet somehow indifferent – although that may be a fanciful not to say pretentious notion…)

Coincidentally, I have been working on a poem called She Lifts Her Veil.

It consists of three rondelets – a charming medieval French lyric form.

The subject of the poem isn’t medieval exactly nor is it really about the grand Victorian personification of Nature Unveiling Herself to Science. It’s more about modern men and women and how they see each other:


she lifts her veil –
a vision: blank, dilating eyes,
she lifts her veil.

you breathe, the smell of her inhale,
flushed lips mouth fire – as flames chastise
brazen flashing immodesties –
she lifts her veil:


they see her face –
fragrant and nude, beyond the pale:
they see her face

itching to put her in her place –
frustration makes them bluster, flail,
so helpless – lewd and sexed and frail –
they see her face:


she drops her veil
lets it float, fall, fade where it lies…
she drops her veil

to speak her peace – a piece of tale
embodies what she prophesies,
when in the mirror of our eyes
she drops her veil.

freddie omm, spring 2012

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