A lady might pretend to fix her face,
but scan the room inside her compact mirror -
so gentlemen would scrutinize this glass
to gaze on Windermere or Rydal Water
and pick their way along the clifftop tracks
intent upon the romance in the box,
keeping untamed nature at their backs,
and some would come to grief upon the rocks.
Don't look so smug. Don't think you're any safer
as you blunder forward through your years
straining to recall some aching pleasure,
or blinded by some private scrim of tears.
I know. My world's encircled by this prop,
though all my life I've tried to force it shut.