In Others' Words    


Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

Matthew 7:24-25 (ESV)




Literally thin-skinned, I suppose, my face

catches the wind off the snow-line and flushes

with a flush that will never wholly settle. Well:

that was a metropolitan vanity,

wanting to look young for ever, to pass.

I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty

nor anything but pretty enough to satisfy

men who need to be seen with passable women.

But now that I am in love with a place

which doesn’t care how I look, or if I’m happy,

happy is how I look, and that’s all.

My hair will grow grey in any case,

my nails chip and flake, my waist thicken,

and the years work all their usual changes.

If my face is to be weather-beaten as well

that’s little enough lost, a fair bargain

for a year among the lakes and fells, when simply

to look out of my window at the high pass

makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what

my soul may wear over its new complexion.

—Fleur Adcock