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The Virgin Considered as a Picture

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Her unawed face, whose pose so long assumed
Is touched with what reality we feel,
Bends to itself and, to itself resumed,
Restores a tender fiction to the real.

And in her artful posture movement lies
Whose timeless motion flesh must so conceal;
Yet what her pose conceals we might surmise
And might pretend to gather from her eyes

The final motion flesh gives up to art.
But slowly, if we watch her long enough,
The nerves grow subtler, and she moves apart

Into a space too dim with time and blood
For our set eyes to follow true enough,
Or nerves to guess about her, if they would.

Edgar Bowers, “The Virgin Considered as a Picture” from Collected Poems (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997). Copyright © 1997 by Edgar Bowers. Reprinted with the permission of the Estate of Edgar Bowers.
Source: Collected Poems (1997)
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The Virgin Considered as a Picture

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