Was it admirable, her patronage of the arts,
finesse, distinction, a sign of higher than the common
sensitivity, discernment, appreciation of beauty?
Was it a quality, that ability to spend a fortune
(how gotten is obscure but probably in the usual way)
on luxury and extravagance?
What a woman, some say, fingering
the painted silks of her dress, pretending
to trace nobility in the hard lines of her features.
What a way to go out, blowing it all
and scavenging for ostrich feathers,
not food, in the dustbins.
Yet where is the nobility in gold slippers and champagne
with millions of war dead, famine, depression
and the rise of fascism’s hideous head?
Where is the beauty in those hard, painted eyes
that looked away while children starved and empires fell,
that gazed into the fire while the world crawled on its knees?
not because of it.