'In Praise of Weatheredness' by Paul Blaney
‘I’ve known you for years. Everyone says you were beautiful when you were young, but I want
to tell you I think you’re more beautiful now than then. Rather than your face as a young woman,
I prefer your face as it is now. Ravaged.’
Marguerite Duras, The Lover
Do you know, would you believe it if
I told you, I like you better this way?
Your skin no longer taut, unseamed
But scored, stained, pinched here,
There gathered; you put me in mind of
Hillsides shaped by wind and water,
Furrows scorched by sun, of pock-
Marked bark and drooping boughs.
Your cheeks are wave-worn cliffs,
Your hands all roughed and swollen,
Strung around with strings of vein,
Your neck a windblown hawthorn,
Your long and lovely back a bow,
And raven tresses flecked with snow.
Yes, life has done its work on you,
As, too, it has on me: the hours crouched
Over flowerbed, book and screen, treading
Footpaths or stretched on sunbaked strands,
Not to mention cigarettes and laughter,
Childbirth, sleepless nights, the thousand and
One woundings to which all flesh is heir.
Yes, time has torn and mottled you,
Stooped and plagued you with aches
Nothing has been spared, not even
Those dear, clear-sighted greys. And yet—
Will you believe me?—to my wearied eye,
You’re none the worse for that, indeed, love,
I like you better now, just as I like best
A landscape that, helpless to conceal,
Can only bare the tale of all its years.
All Rights. Paul Blaney.
Paul Blaney is a 54-year-old writer and teacher. British by birth, he now lives in Pennsylvania with his housemate, Roger, and cats Frida and Pushkin. His fiction has been widely published but he’s recently taken a turn towards poetry.