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“The Fair Nun Unmasked” by Henry Robert Morland


I may smile when I’m feeling quite friendly,
I may laugh when I’m feeling amused;
I will lift up a brow when I’m skeptical,
And I’ll furrow my brow when confused.

But too often there comes an emotion
Or a thought I don’t wish to reveal,
And I have to manoeuvre my countenance
All my innermost face to conceal.

Now, to shelter a heart full of sorrow,
A smile is a flimsy disguise;
And though laughter would mimic true happiness,
There’s a different tale told by the eyes.

Lifted brows cannot cover anxiety;
Furrowed brows cannot quite cover fear,
So I’m seeking a better alternative
To prevent folks from coming too near.

Seems the mask that most suits me is anger,
For it covers a whole host of things:
Trepidation, disgust, insecurity,
And embarrassment with all its stings;

Then there’s heartbreak, despondence and sorrow,
Hidden jealousy, faulty conjecture—
While my face wears the storm cloud of anger,
Nosy people won’t poke, prod, or lecture.

Even so, I keep backup masks handy,
Like indifference, or outright disdain;
Should you manage to see through my subterfuge?—
There’s one mask that will always remain,

Because now that I’ve told you my secret,
You might wait for the “wrath” to subside;
But you still cannot see what’s inside of me
Till you get past the mask of my pride.

Poem by Anna J. Arredondo



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