Before Two Portraits of My Mother - Emile Nelligan

I love my mother's portrait as she once
Was painted in her girlhoods glorious prime:
The forehead lily-white, the eyes that shine
With a Venetian mirrors brilliance!

Her other picture is a world away;
Wrinkles have ploughed the marble of her brow:
Lost is romance's rapture, distant now
The rose-red poem of her wedding day.

It saddens me today as I compare;
This brow haloed with joy, and that with care;
Gold sun, and thick mist at the years' eclipse.

But, O unfathomed mystery of the heart!
How can I smile at those poor faded lips?
How for the smiling face can teardrops start?