The Miniature

Lady of elusive smile,
patched and powdered portraiture,
were you always free from guile
before you were a miniature?

Were you Chloe to a Daphnis1
in an Arcady of France?
Did you see from starlit lattice
eyes that flashed an ardent glance?

Did you leave your wigs and patches,
minuet and Watteau graces,
stealing out from lifted latches
to a garden's hidden places?

In the night you found a lover,
moonlight paled your lifted mouth,
tall trees dreaming made a cover
for a passion of the south.

Lady of the Powdered Days,
innocent in portraiture,
once you knew a woman's ways
before you were a miniature.

                           Edgar Holt (1932)


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1- Daphnis was the experienced but sometimes reluctant suitor of Chloe in the second century Greek romance Daphnis and Chloe.

From Fiammetta

….Sleep like the morning tide rolls out
leaving me naked on a barren shore.
Sharply I hear a newsboy shout,
and the baker's boy is knocking at the door.
Uncurls then Fiametta, smiles and yawns;
and through the window I can see
a smooth parade of square green lawns.
Asks Fiametta,
                       'Yes? An egg and tea!

Flesh, face, and form are hers;
a warmth is about her yet,
cooling as her laughter stirs
the sunlight on the coverlet.
Should I presume
to speak of orchids now, or tea,
or, lover still, assume
love's mutability…..?

                        Edgar Holt (1932)

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Sonnet

Why do you listen, watcher? Do you hear,
rising above the urgent voice of pain,
above the babble of the world, a clear,
unbroken music, like the Spring again;
the shining music of a faith which springs
out of the hearts of men, that there shall be
freedom once more, with such unburdened wings
that man shall rise to find humanity?

What is the music, watcher, that I hear?
A symphony more clamant1 than the seas,
to dumb the counterpoint of hate and fear,
and dirge of dead, forsaken loyalties?

'You hear, my friend, the trumpet of revolt,
snarling the message of a thunderbolt.'

                                             Edgar Holt (1932)


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1 clamant - noisy