Her Explanations

A poem

So you have wondered at me, — guessed in vain
What the real woman is you know so well?
I am a lost illusion. Some strange spell
Once made your friend there, with his fine disdain
Of fact, conceive me perfect. He would fain
(But could not) see me always, as befell
His dream to see me, plucking asphodel,
In saffron robes, on some celestial plain.
All that I was he marred and flung away
In quest of what I was not, could not be, —
Lilith, or Helen, or Antigone.
Still he may search; but I have had my day,
And now the Past is all the part for me
That this world’s empty stage has left to play.