The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit

Art, Culture, Poetry

Their peripatetic parents probably
assumed it was an ordinary life:
charming girlhood, and then someone’s wife,
pinafores for evening gowns, lives free
of want, although not literally free;
husbands living on the interest of
what their own fathers socked away, and love
a sickly symptom of maturity.
Adults, poor things, rarely can admit
even to themselves how clearly they remember
that kids don’t learn from parents; children carry
a whole soul as a completed secret,
its wholeness brief as daylight in November.
The daughters in the portrait do not marry.

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