To Madame Lemaire

What sort of over subtle thief cut down in orchards
Those luminous grapes for which my lips are charmed?
The zephyr blowing those candles by surprise
It alone is gentle enough not to extinguish them,
But no, for brushes leaving aside spindles and wool,
You create more than God: an eternal spring,
And it is among lilies and climbing roses
That you go to seek your colours, Madeleine.
You have the frail beauty of the day fly,
And yet you flowers of one day, you do not perish
Living flowers and yet immortal: lilac,
Pinks or lilies that Madame Lemaire has painted.
But you, who will paint you, beautiful gardener
Through whom, every spring, are born for us so many flowers?
You alone to ...


Poem written to Madeleine Lemaire, society hostess and painter, by Marcel Proust, 1894.

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