#atozchallenge Crowning glory


my sister was pretty
but my eyes, nose and lips were bland,
so, after examining my face and discovering
no feature that they could label beautiful,
those who did not simply give up, saying,
you must be the one with the brains,
lit upon my golden hair,
faking admiration, exclaiming over my crowning glory,
plucking, examining it, asking me
what do you call this colour, is it strawberry blonde?
as if I would know; I didn’t get it out of a bottle.
I was not born with the inate ability to name
the colours that grow out of my scalp,
and what is a name, anyway?

when I looked in a mirror I saw the reflection
of those well-meaning descriptions and omissions
given to me by foolish adult aquaintances.
the only answer for this plain girl
with a pretty sister
was to hide behind my glowing tresses
so gloriously highlighted with the hint
of blushing roses in a hundred summer shades.

I grew up behind that curtain,
presenting a pretentious air of mystery
which fooled all of the boys, and even fooled me,
a quiet child when in company, but wild among the trees,
seething with rage against my errant genes
which hadn’t deigned to make me pretty,
while pretending not to care.
even when they clammered to be with me
I believed I had them fooled with the cunning trick
of concealing the perceived ugliness behind my hair,
and hiding the dullness beneath an air of devil-may-care.
I didn’t know that I had grown beautiful.

I went with a boy to the woods,
and in that familiar homeland, forgot to hide.
as I climbed the boughs, the drapery fell back from my face,
revealing my eyes, my smile, my vitality,
those features and flaws which are the source of all reachable beauty.
He instantly wanted pull me from the leafy branches,
drag me to the ground,
and possess my body.
though I fearfully denied him his desire,
his interest fed my hungry ego.
over the months that followed I climbed trees
in the company of at least one Simon,
two Daves, a Chris and a Steve.
each one returned home aching for my virginity,
believing he had seen all that was hidden
behind my crowning glory.

the first time I saw Him, all fakery dropped away.
he was a stranger, and I thought I was out of his range of interest,
but I had dropped every hint of disguise
and he had seen me.
when he held my hand gently held in his
I realised it was not my crowning glory which had concealed me,
but all the layers beneath.

©Jane Paterson Basil


16 thoughts on “#atozchallenge Crowning glory

  1. Don’t you hate that the way people feel like they HAVE to say something lovely about you so you won’t be left out or feel ugly? I remember that feeling from growing up with a beautiful sister, too… Don’t know about you, but I felt handicapped.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You had a beautiful sister? You must be the one with the brains…
      There, I’ve never said that before, and I’ll never say it again, because we both know it’s horrible, especially when, on school reports it always says “Could try harder.” No! Just because I’m ugly, it doesn’t mean I have superior skills of concentration.
      I never put it into words, but yes, I felt handicapped.
      But you grow older, and people start to see beyond the skin, and they see you are beautiful. If you could look at yourself in the mirror, and see what others see, you’d be thrilled at the warmth and wisdom that comes through – and the vulnerability. That’s an attractive trait, too.
      Do you have any pics of you and your sister as children? Would you be brave enough to share them? I’d share mine, but I need to get a new scanner.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My sister has all the family pictures in her attic. We were supposed to go through them. A LOT of them are on slides and I’m pretty sure as hot as it gets in her attic that they’ve probably melted by now. Mom passed away in 1998, so they’ve been up there for almost 20 years!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Same here. I even wrote an article about my experience having three sisters to whom I think were more beautiful than me. It affected me so much in a way that I even dreaded to look at myself in the mirror. Thank God I survived. Nice work!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Sort of but I am fond of my sisters, it’s the people around us, thank God I met someone who helped me get out of my shell and made me realize there’s something in me that’s more than what meets the eye. I am still blessed.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I spent the evening with friends. We talked about the ugly duckling syndrome, and one of my friends pointed out taht ageing is probably easier for those who felt they were unattracive when they were young, because when they get older they don’t worry about their appearance nearly as much as those who beoieved they were beautiful. I think she was right, so that’s a blessing.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no pics of me and my sisters but I think we are all beautiful. Don’t much care what others thought. I was told though that I was the quiet one. Teenage years changed that one though.

    Liked by 1 person

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