Creative Writing Captions: D11300

Drawn from Nature and as Large as Life: Thomas Frye's Fancy Heads

Creative Writing Captions: D11300 | D11302 | D11298 | D11289

I see what I am  Moulded by the constraints of my life
Corseted, cosseted
Afternoons at tea with my dead mother's friends
Mornings I take the air,
Listen for children bubbling in weak sunlight.
I read verse on my usual bench, parasol in hand
People notice me but do not stare
I am plucked from society
Plumed and preened as is my fancy
Indulged. I know more than I should
Eyes trained, seeing but not seen
My loss is desire's fulfilment cruelly snatched
I wait long for experience knowing it will be duller than dreams.


Today I miss my mother. Her pearls are my pearls. A colony of oysters sacrificed to frame our beauty. Am I alone now without her? My sister's hands warm the pearls, then she ties them around my neck, the one frozen teardrop falling between my breasts. 'Cover up', she says. I will wear flowers in my hair, bare my flesh to bring you to me, a collar of lace like an open palm. The death of a mother opens up infinite possibilities. I have nothing to fear. Don't dilute my gin. I saw him yesterday for the last time, cheered on by crowds as he mounted the gallows, fame and death like identical twins. I remember the taste of your skin, how clean it was, even at the end of the day. If I was stronger I would have pushed my way through the crowds to throw myself at his body.


George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham
by Isaac Beckett, after Simon Verelst
NPG D1130

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