Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.
—John Keats, letter to George and Thomas Keats on December 21, 1817
For an hour we gathered rocks
and laid them in patterns in the sand
and named our collection
“The Museum of Beautiful and Useless Rocks.”
What did we know of the rocks?
Only the pleasure of choosing them,
of finding just the right rhythm
of reds and blues and grays –
we chose them by shape, by
the way they fell apart, by how smooth
or lumpy they were, we chose them
for no reason at all except that
there was joy in the finding
and joy in the rearranging of the bank.
There was no real end to the task,
it was only that the wind turned chill,
so we left the collection unfinished,
as beauty always is, and returned
to the house for lunch—none of us
feeling the hand that had chosen us,
that hand even then rearranging
us into new stanzas of shifting dust.