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Short poem

Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt (1836-1919)


              1Almost afraid they led her in:
              2    (A dwarf more piteous none could find);
              3Withered as some weird leaf, and thin,
              4    The woman was and wan and blind.

              5Into his mirror with a smile
              6    Not vain to be so fair, but glad
              7The South-born painter looked the while,
              8    With eyes than Christ's alone less sad.

              9"Mother of God," in pale surprise
            10    He whispered, "What am I to paint?"
            11A voice that sounded from the skies
            12    Said to him: "Raphael, a saint."

            13She sat before him in the sun;
            14    He scarce could look at her, and she
            15Was still and silent. "It is done,"
            16    He said. "Oh, call the world to see!"

            17Ah, that was she in veriest truth
            18    Transcendent face and haloed hair;
            19The beauty of divinest youth,
            20    Divinely beautiful, was there.

            21Herself into her picture passed
            22    Herself and not her poor disguise
            23Made up of time and dust. At last
            24    One saw her with the Master's eyes.

Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: S. M. B. Piatt, "Transfigured," Scribners Monthly 19.2 (Dec. 1879): 195.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/4/15

Form: quatrains
Rhyme: abab

Other poems by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt