She Walks in Beauty
By Lord Byron (George Gordon)
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
Today she asked me why I loved her, once again. Those thoughts tugging at her heartstrings like a sickening virus got a hold of her once more and left her feeling like she wasn’t worthy of the love I am willing to give to her, the love she deserves. I didn’t have the strength to explain it to her, nor is my eloquence sufficient to put my feelings into words. Only now the words are starting to appear in my mind, leaving me able to visualise every concept that was once abstract.
But oh dear diary, she is so much more gorgeous than she believes she is. She walks in beauty, every step as simple and yet stunning as the night of cloudless climes and starry skies. She is not pure, yet her imperfections and darkness are what make her shine only brighter. All the best of dark and bright, both the light enough to make any ordinary soul avert their eyes, and that suffocating darkness which leaves her unable to get out of bed on some days, meet in her aspect and her eyes, where they are mellowed to that mild glow, so simple that it is even overlooked by some who don’t bother to look past the walls she has built, and which heaven to gaudy day denies.
No other bit of shade, no other ray of light can change that nameless grace, which is visible in every raven lock that casts shadows over her olive complexion, or that glow that makes her eyes glimmer every time she smiles and makes it seem as if her face emits the most heavenly light that makes all the angels turn to ash; that face where she expresses her thoughts, serenely sweet. How pure, how dear their dwelling place, and what I’d give to get even a glimpse into the small piece of heaven she calls her mind.
Though perhaps an inner war might be raging where no one but her notices it, on those rosy cheeks, over her perfectly shaped brow, in her smile, in ever other aspect of her body that is shaped with such utmost care that every sculptor on earth would give up their masterpieces to be able to create something like that, there is nothing but peace. A peace that can only come from a heart whose love is innocent.
That is what I wanted to tell her at that time, dear diary. The way she gazed at me with such hopelessness in her amber-tinted irises left me at a loss for words. All I could do was stare back and wonder how such an angel could not see herself the way I see her. Perhaps I will show her this if she ever asks me that question again, or perhaps I will leave her wondering, for I believe true love cannot be explained. This was only a fraction of what I truly feel for her, and I will never be able to convey my love in something as simple as words. I hope there won’t be a next time she asks me that feared question, instead I pray that it might be in my power, by actions rather than words, to convince her that I love her.
by Aranka van der Post