I see the dark-brown curls, the brow,
The smooth transparent skin,
Refined, as with intent to show
The holiness within;
The grace of parting Infancy
By blushes yet untamed;
Age faithful to the mother’s knee,
Nor of her arms ashamed.
–William Wordsworth, “A Jewish Family (In a Small Valley Opposite St. Goar, Upon the Rhine)”, 1828.
What the poem is about and what I associate it with are two different things. But I can’t help thinking of my mother’s jewellery box whenever I read of those “dark-brown curls” and the “blushes yet untamed”.
So occasionally, I’m struck by how I try to recreate this treasure box of colours through the images I save and collect in my various computer folders. I’d like to lay a few of them out too, like all that jewellery spread on the bed:
Image credits (top to bottom): Portrait of a Lady by Lilla Cabot Perry, 1910; Les raboteurs de parquet by Gustave Caillebotte, 1875; Glenn Gould; Picture of a lunch time ballet audience, Arts Theatre Club, London, 1940s; Artwork by Thomas Ehretsmann; David Hallberg in the wings during the first act of The Sleeping Beauty at a dress rehearsal at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Photo: Sergei L. Loiko/Los Angeles Times; The Silver Vase by Lilla Cabot Perry, 1905; Duane Michals’ “This Photograph is My Proof”; Venetian Street by John Singer Sargent, 1880.