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The blank verse "Portrait d'une Femme," a Browningesque yet modern vignette, depicts the emptiness and sterility of the life of a cultured woman, surrounded by an exotic assortment of objects of art: "Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea, / London has swept about you this score years / And bright ships left you this or that in fee. . . ." Despite her acquisitions, often the "fee" of casual alliances with cultured lovers, the lady is without a sense of identity or fulfillment: "No! there is nothing! In the whole and all, / Nothing that's quite your own. / Yet this is you." This subject and theme, anticipatory of Eliot's hollow men and women.



From American Free Verse: The Modern Revolution in Poetry. Copyright © 1973 by Walter Sutton.