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Apearance (Level: upper-intermediate)

Хижинська Л. Г., Перша міська гімназія, м. Черкаси

A Portrait


…….Sometimes as if by a wave of a fairy wand there emerges before me a fleeting vision of a starry-eyed girl who was associated with the fragrant breath of spring.


My friend… Liza… what a beautiful name! Those were delightful years spent together with her…


Liza wasn’t a raving beauty. There were other girls of greater beauty. But there was an irresistible charm about her. Her charm was intensified by her voice, so appealing and thrilling. It sounded like music.


The shining honey coloured curls framed her arresting face. The plentiful curls seemed to be shot by sparkling sunshine. They made Liza look like an angel. I always thought that the sunshine hid its golden stars in her hair.


There were some pale golden freckles on her delicately turned nose. They gave Liza’s face an extra touch of loveliness.


The long eyebrows like thin golden threads ran apart above her eyes. Those eyes emitted a never-ending fascination. The lace of the eyelashes wonderfully surrounded her enchanting eyes of a shining pearl grey. The eyelashes were not long but thick and unexpectedly dark. The complexion of Liza’s gentle face was so fair, that it added to the general effect of sweetness and delicacy. Liza was full of vivacity, that’s why a flash of her white gleaming teeth was so frequent. Liza was plump but pleasingly plump with shapely legs and lily-white hands. Her gait was graceful and light.


One of Liza’s main charms was her good temper. All of us admired the ways she treated people. Her manners and attitudes were admirable and subtle. Liza was perfectly natural. She made no pretence, never flattered people. Malice couldn’t touch her sunny soul. She didn’t know envy attacks, nor did she gossip. The force of Liza’s personality cast spell over everyone who came in touch with her.


Liza liked to look stylish. Her taste in clothes was marvellous. The perfection of her clothing heightened her attractiveness. She was always splendid to look at. Liza was exquisite in every feminine way.


Looking backward in time I visualize the past events in very vivid colours. My memory brings me the moment when Ruslan met Liza for the first time. Having seen Liza he was stunned by her wonderful appearance. It was a special moment as if gods were near.


Liza’s blooming loveliness was at its peak. In a peach-coloured dress with a matching ribbon in her golden hair she was like a sunshine ray. Ruslan’s eyes began to blaze with love and admiration. He buried his burning face into her copiously flowing silky hair and repeated all the time,


“Oh my love, my gentle dove!

I am struck by love arrows!

I have found you!

It proves that the Earth is really narrow!

I’ve become a slave, a slave of love,

But I’m a happy slave!”


Liza bent down her blissful eyes. Ruslan said, “I love my Love… and does my Love love me?” Her musical voice echoed, “Your Love loves you!”


But another, another vision haunts me even more frequently… I see them walking to the plane. Ruslan was a pilot. Liza was a stewardess. I didn’t know that I would never see them again. They would have been happy in their married life if they had remained alive. “Oh, moment, stop your flight! Stop! Stop!”…


In some time the air flight control informed about the air crash. Both the crew and the passengers had perished.


I could not believe. I don’t believe it even now. I never saw Ruslan and Liza dead. They have no grave in the earth. Ruslan and Liza are not dead. They became part of nature, they are in nature. I am almost aware that I can see Liza’s charm in spring cherry blossoms. The warm summer wind brings me the echo of her sweet voice. I recognize Liza’s enchanting smile in the splendour of golden sunshine.


I visualize Ruslan holding Liza in his strong arms and kissing her cold pale fingers interwoven by moonbeams. The Moon envelops them in its silvery light.


In the night when the world is charged with grandeur of God – the nocturnal beauty sings to them. They sleep in the misty dust of the Milky Way and dance with shooting stars in the black velvet of the space night. Ruslan and Liza escaped the ruthless hand of time. They will always be young and beautiful…


… Liza… What a beautiful name! I’ve never forgotten that girl of the superlatives.


The words from Robert Burns’ poem “Ae fond kiss” will end my essay,

“But to see her was to love her,

Love but her, and love forever!”


Additional vocabulary:

1. The most remarkable thing about one’s face is…

One’s warm kind eyes; one’s… smile; one’s fair complexion; dimples in one’s cheeks; one’s thoughtful look; one’s thin-lipped mouth; one’s rosy-pink lips; high colour in one’s cheeks.


2. One’s special charm is

A lively sense of humour; a spark of humour in one’s eyes; one’s pleasant voice and good manners; one’s good temper; snow-white teeth;


3. One’s eyes are so sad, sweet, clever, tired, lively, merry, clear, cold, kind.


4. He (she) is blue-eyed, round-faced, common-faced, pleasant-faced, gentle-eyed, clear-eyed, apple-cheeked, freckle-faced, and dark-haired.


5. She (he) has a sunny smile (kind, soft, warm, friendly, merry, and pleasant).


6. One’s hair is wavy, silky, soft, straight, curly, thick, dark-chestnut, fair, grey.


7. One’s hair is dark but there are some grey hairs on one’s temples, and they are becoming.


8. She wears her hair in plaits.

She wears her hair cut short.

She has a hair-do.

She wears her hair loose.

She has a fine profile.


9. She (he) looks the very picture of her (his) mother. (… looks the very picture of health)


10. She wears her shoulder-length hair in pony-tail.


11. She is at her lovable best now.


After Reading

The pupils are suggested writing a descriptive article about a person making use of the text “A Portrait” and additional vocabulary.


P.S. The line “I love my Love and my Love loves me!” is taken from Samuel T. Coleridge’s verse “Answer to a Child’s Question”.

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