gershon hepner

(5 3 38 / leipzig)

nothing really lost


Nothing really went away,
nothing really had been lost,
once her soft black hair turned gray
and with lines her face was crossed,
for she still spoke in her own voice
after all her beauty faded––
still she made the heart rejoice.
Though she once had felt degraded
to be dreamed of as a queen
of beauty rather than one wise,
in her mind she feels serene,
once her beauty fades and dies.
Men love her now not for her shape,
so pleasing to their roving eyes,
and at last she can escape
the ones who loved her for her thighs.

Peter Bogdanovich writes in a review of a biography of Ava Gardner:
Lucia Graves, the writer's youngest daughter (it was she who translated Gardner's posthumously published memoir into Spanish) , was 12 when she met Ava, and she told me that whenever she visited Ava's London apartment, Gardner was always playing Sinatra records. Interviewed for this book, Lucia gives perhaps the most moving testimonial of Ava's last days, of her marked diminishment and yet of how 'the moment you were with her... you saw that nothing had really gone away, nothing was lost, she was still beautiful.' Lucia also told me that Ava had very much wanted her autobiography to be titled after the very first Robert Graves poem she had read. Though Graves would dedicate a couple of later poems to her, the one he initially singled out for her attention — because it reminded him so much of her — went in part: 'She speaks always in her own voice / Even to strangers.' Ava had wanted to name her memoir 'In Her Own Voice.' (It was published as the prosaic 'Ava: My Story, ' except in Spain, where Lucia made good on Ava's wish.) There was another key phrase from the same poem: 'She is wild and innocent, pledged to love / Through all disaster.' This, Graves wrote, was 'Ava to the life.' He was right.

4/23/06

Submitted: Sunday, April 23, 2006

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