Saving Face - Poem by William Coyne
Of every fresh and regal petal,
none dared to rest within her rosy hand,
for fear that she, the fairest in the land,
shame their glory and their loveliness.
Mirrors have no such low reservations,
outward truth its burden for all to bear,
whether crooked nose or lovely gold hair,
indifferent, shows only what appears.
But one magic mirror spoke, and its words
reflected realities not seen with vain eyes,
only qualities which beyond all sight lies
open to the ears ready for wisdom.
So when this mirror told of one more fair,
and displayed the ripening youthful face,
its words represented not the outward grace,
but purity beyond the glass phantom,
and a queen, her soul enraged by greater
outward beauty, took the mirror's report
and threatened with all her power to thwart
a welcome for more beauty to her realm.
The story runs that the land grew more dark,
the queen fulfilled her hateful desire,
but in the tale's end did not acquire
her former rank as fairest in the land.
For take care, even when true beauty sleeps
there is none more lovely on the earth
who serve or rule, who have more worth,
even rotting souls with pretty faces.
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