A Sad Splendor
[. . . ]
She spoke with backward gestures of her hand.
She held men closely with discovery,
Almost as speed discovers, in the way
Invisible change discovers what is changed,
In the way what was has ceased to be what is.
It was not her look but a knowledge that she had.
She was a self that knew, an inner thing,
Subtler than look's declaiming, although she moved
With a sad splendor, beyond artifice,
Compassioned by the knowledge that she had,
There on the edges of oblivion.
from “the Owl in the Sarcophagus” by Wallace Stevens