“Ginevra de’ Benci” by Elisabeth Vodola


Puella senex, violate, I gaze,
My raison d'etre--so be it--amaze.
Then gladly, if by that you mean
Not that I see, but merely that I'm seen.
Only, do not expect I care
Whether you look away or stare.
The grimy path you tread does not reach me,
Nor is my face the porcelain face you see.




This is an ekphrasis of a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1474, now in the National Portrait Gallery.