I stop. I knew it: Titian.
A grandee spies
On several goddesses.
I too Am happy hidden in the leaves
And their coppery, distant hue.
Who are those ladies
On the flagstones of roofs and rooms?
Dark costumes, but...
At my side, real enough, stands
A woman. She does not see me.
I am a zero—I am reality—
For her, because she demands Art.
My glance will dare
To venture out, courteous and eager—
In me, a habit of courtesy—
To the living form,
Which I never confuse or compare
With the imitation world—
At the moment hailing from the Verona of old.
There's no true Venus who does not glow
Without my embrace, who does not put a zing
In my blood. Even now,
When I can scarcely see
(And the museum offers another wing!)
This flower by Matisse. The woman enthralls.
Does she flee? No matter. How she calls!
Translated by Reginald Gibbons