In one sense she is walking naked up the mountain path.
There is nobody to see her.
Round her legs her long skirt laps like water,
or even less corporeal, reflections
on the water. Only the breeze knows her,
reaching in her sleeves and puffing out the bosom.
But she doesn't wear for them, nor any interloper's eye
this delicate material envelopment,
this petulance of hair and sterling stride.
She does not pause to snap a blossom off the vine
and put it up behind her ear,
or even laugh as though she thought herself ridiculous
for this, for any sense of beauty but her own.
She is no more wearing all the forest,
all its scents and songs and falling veils
of spray, than these embellishments of dress
and harmonies of gesture,
walking in the middle of it, naked
up the mountain way.
words: Nicholas Messenger, New Zealand
image: Smitha Murthy, India