I wandered away through Marylebone streets, across a tidy square,
Past a motion picture theatre and Nicole Kidman billboards,
Elegant, intelligent, Victorianesque actress in a film of gauds.
It was The Portrait of a Lady, set in another time, somewhere.
Anyway, let's just say (at the least) it happened out there!
Playing a clone of herself, Kidman is of Henry James and bards,
In the character of Isabel, sunk in a glow of smartness and words,
Real food for thought for someone coming from in there.
Though her persona's prosaic, she harks brilliantly back
To the great whore (of Babylon, or the Seven Hills), timeless,
Drunk on the blood of the saints and martyrs under attack.
She captivates and therefore cures a mostly dire weakness,
Or so it seemed, for whatever feeling I could have or lack,
Of horror or suspense or danger, a whiter shade of paleness.