Tag Archives: rhyming couplets

The gift


You give me love. Its frame is cracked,

its silvered face is pock-marked black.                                                                                              


You say, ‘It’s only second-hand,’

I squeeze your arm. I understand.


I hang your present in the hall.

I screw it tight so it won’t fall.


I gaze beyond the glass and wood.

I never knew I looked this good.


 (C) Helen Lewis, 2006




A visit to the Sistine Chapel, 1511

You’ll find my master on the scaffold there:

Flat on his back, with paint streaks in his hair.

This labour’s how he earns his daily bread;

A marriage of convenience. He’s been wed

For three long winters to this shrewish wife,

Who’s had ten thousand hours of his life.

But every dusk, as night crowds out the day,

And steals all colour, leaving dregs of grey,

He keeps a moonlit tryst with mistress stone,

The only passion that he’s ever known,

Whose skin is smooth and white, whose touch is cold.

Inspired by ageless beauty, he grows old.


(C) Helen Lewis 2009

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