On the beauty of his beloved

The icy stream is not on mountain high
more scintillating or more crystalline,
nor carvèd ebony as dark or fine,
nor flaxen flowers as blue in deep July,
nor does the eastern gold more brightly shine,
nor breathes the scent of precious amber more
sensual, more delicate or pure,
nor can the conch a richer red define,
than forehead, eyebrows, eyes and hair and breath
and mouth of my seraphic lovely one,
an angel's face revealed in human guise;
these things without her would seem dull as death,
since she embodies them: crystal; ebon';
flax and gold and amber; scarlet dyes.

Francisco de Aldana 1532 - 1578
(© Aodhagan O'Broin, 1998)


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2012 Selected Poetry
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