IMAGE & POEM (MAY 2008)

About Diane Unveiled

This beautiful design of a nude woman among doves brought to mind moonlight and the sensually historic figure of Diane de Poitiers. One of the most famous courtesans of The Renaissance, she served as mistress, adviser and tutor to the young king of France, Henri II. She was known for her great beauty and intellect; and often associated with the mythological figure, Dianna --goddess of the moon and hunt. Yet, she was an older woman in love with a younger man. This became the premise of the poem and its reflective thoughts inspired by the picture, "Nu aux Oiseaux."

In a dialog with herself, Diane reflects on her present situation and the king's love for her. Though confident of his devotion, she still fears the inevitability of her situation. She confesses that someday another evening will come when doves sing and light filters through the leaves; but so will a "younger, blossoming shadow of Diane", a fresher version of herself. She understands her time and position at court have a mortality of their own; and this realization is like a silken darkness she cannot rip out of her wardrobe or her life. Therefore, she accepts her fate with grace and a bittersweet resignation.

© 2011, Wendy Howe. E-mail.