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On being asked by an editor
for a .jpg photograph to accompany my poems

(after the manner of Alexander Pope)

Let it go pictureless, but don't disgrace
My Verse with color photos of my Face.
Why can't it have illuminated O's
Or woodcuts from the Caxton folios?
At least a photojournalistic print,
Silver emulsion black-and-white—a hint
Of something nobler than this pauvre vie.
Solemnity. Tradition. Dignity,
Not truth, please. I've seen poets as they are,
Standing around with Glasses from the Bar,
And contra stories of the young Millay,
We're less than decorative. Put it this way:
Art cannot bear this much Reality.
My Phiz,  so far from being poetry,
Is Scribble on the Muse's bright designs—
Just awkward Prose, with lots of tiny lines.

Maryann Corbett
(previously published in The Lyric)