Woman of Substance
No stilted form of beauty, she,
No drawing room repose
Where ladies quiet and demure
Showcase their ornament.
She comes to light as from a storm
With darkened clouds and sea;
As one well-girded for the task
Of making her own way.
It might be at a ship’s strong bow,
Or in the marketplace
She makes her presence keenly felt –
Her gaze is strong and sure.
Indeed, whose heart do these eyes hold?
Whose life these arms embrace?
Whose steps are ever more secure
When guided by her care?
No simple ornament is she
To please a young man’s eye.
She is a castle in the storm,
A refuge from the gale.
So let the painter tell the tale
For all the world to see;
Her light against the darkened skies,
Her strength against the wind.
Image: Portrait of Harriot West at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Artist: Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830)
Medium: Oil on Canvas