Her steps were always slow;
Even in youth she swayed,
Walked with sultry composure
And seductive flow.
Like a heathen goddess,
She tempers movement with grace.
It was not done out of vanity,
But pleasure in the flowing stream of steps
That mark her pace.
The relaxed fulcrum of her hip
Tilts with undulations in the turf;
Her feet tread lightly with a claim
On the summer fields,
On the bending trees
Where beauty still abounds..
She savors the trailing of her skirt
Through unseen paths in drooping grass.
Until the evening mist accrues
From out the forest paths
Caressing her as she yields,
Until she and it are almost one.
Like Whistler’s “breath on a pane of glass”,
She bargains with nature,
Waning to become an aesthetic phantom.
She stops at a window and watches
With a sad smile, the warm light on life,
The laughter, talk and dancing grace
Of her children, who don’t yet know
The bittersweet taste of withered garlands.
Yet she accepts and passes into the dusk.
Now she executes a careful,
Battement fondu as her hands dip
To reach the soaking pods
Of next year’s summer flowers.
Every move must be planned,
To manage every hour.
For they are as precious now,
As her own days,
Fading into glory and reborn,
Into spring and youth’s careless riot.
Inspired in part by the opening scenes of Vanessa Redgrave in "Howard's End". Addendum: To get even more of the "feel" I had when writing this, try listening to Percy Grainger's "Bridal Lullaby", which plays during this scene: