Poetry: Lee Miller in Hitler’s Bathtub | clivejames.com
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Lee Miller in Hitler’s Bathtub

But if you didn’t know, you’d never guess
Whose bath it was. You’d see only the woman,
So beautiful that since the time of Helen
She’s started wars, the perennial temptress,

But abstract nonetheless. You have to know her:
Picasso’s friend, an angel of adventure.
Sheer daring brought her sweet skin to this juncture
With porcelain that would look dull without her,

But not be famous now except the other
Bare bottom that once sat in it was his,
Killer of millions. Remember that this is
Only a footnote. Don’t get in a lather:

But while reflecting that a sponge wipes clean
Only so much, do take time to recall
That if this nymph were Leni Riefenstahl
There would be less, not more, for her to mean.

But we are safe, when contemplating this
Unsmiling incandescent odalisque,
From any hint of awe. That was the risk:
To gloss trash with a misplaced emphasis.

But me no buts. Enough to say that Lee
Was not just lovely but sane, smart and good.
By her, his squalor was well understood.
Bless her for throwing light on perfidy.