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Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

And Just Like That

 

 

 

the deep field of snow

with its crystals and diamonds

turns to mud

 

and the stem of purple orchids

drops its blooms

until it is only stem

 

and we, too, rearrange

and become not beauty

but its source

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Reflection

 

 

We are the dust that sings.

            —Art Goodtimes

 

 

She has learned not to trust the mirror.

When she is not near it, she’s beautiful.

Here, in firelight, she knows herself

as one of many stems in an enormous

bouquet, all of them lovely. And in moonlight,

she shines along with the rest of the shining world.

And in the longest night, she is the dust

that dances, dust that sings, dust that knows beauty

everywhere it looks, inside, outside.

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Concentric

 

 

 

See, I want to say to my son. See

how the pond has frozen in thick,

 

continuous curves. See all the lines,

how they ring each other, like dozens

 

of tiny orbits. I want to show him

the marvel of it all, but he is too old

 

now for marvels, or perhaps too young,

the precise age where beauty is boring.

 

And so I take the child of myself to the pond

and show her the rings. I resist the urge

 

to explain how the meltwater formed them,

how surface-tension forces make liquid melt

 

cling against the lower parts of the ice.

Instead, I let her gaze at the miracle,

 

trace the concentric bands with her fingers.

How curious the rings are, like frozen halos

 

that fit enormous angels. How astonishing

in their design. Just wait till I show her

 

we can walk on it, too. I let her amazement

become my own, our feet slipping

 

across the smooth surface, our breath

rising in white ephemeral curls.

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You think it’s so much better to be petal,

pink flower, the perfumed bloom that lures

 

the bee. You with your flutter and blush.

Not all of us can be soft. Not all of us

 

can be beauty, and you have that role

all wrapped up. You with your tender buds,

 

your loveliness splayed. But I was not

made that way. Was made prick. Was

 

made barbed. Was made snappish

and piercing and sharp. Was made

 

fierce. Was made lance. Was made

to take no chances with survival.

 

There is glory in defense. Everything

that touches me remembers. I’m the one

 

that defines the scene. How would you know

your beauty without me?

 

 

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Today I woke in the dark and was busy

making lunches during the sunrise,

though surely it happened. And I drove

 

in the low morning light along

the San Miguel River for half an hour,

not once noticing the color of the water,

 

the scent on the banks, though past

experience leads me to believe

that there were thousands, millions,

 

of tiny beautiful miracles happening

there in that half hour alone. How much

beauty is lost on me every day, every moment?

 

Though as I stepped out of the car

to walk into work, I saw, stuck to my boot, one

brilliant orange aspen leaf outlined in gold,

 

and for a whole minute, I stared at it,

marveled at its symmetrical veins,

its delicate stem, the astonishing intricacy

 

of its edges. How easily gloriousness finds us, sticks

to us even. How wholly available, this art

of meeting the glittering, luminous world.

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after Saint Francis and the Sow by Galway Kinnell

 

 

And when my daughter

runs to greet me, charges

me with joy, I am like

the great thick sow Saint Francis blessed

with his touch. For though

I look in the mirror

and see only what I wish to change,

my daughter sees differently

and bulldozes me with love,

a ferocious blessing,

reteaching me in a vigorous rush

that there is something

beautiful here, though

she wouldn’t name it as such—

and a small remembering

takes root in me and

vines throughout my thoughts,

and I flower there in blue surprise,

my own soil, again, enough.

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It was Concourse B that altered me

as I ran past old women in sarongs

and young wailing children and men

in red ties and couples holding hands.

At first, all humanity felt like a hindrance,

living hurdles between me

and gate B-14 where the plane

for Seattle was already boarding.

But then, and who can say why,

as I stitched past B-70, B-68, B-66,

I began to notice how beautiful they were,

the ones with dark briefcases and the ones

with strollers, tall ones and fat ones and

slight ones and crooked ones,

all of us constellating in the same place

at the same time, star dust

with dreams and goals and heartaches

and hopes. And as I wove through

the fabric of us,

I felt their blessing as they parted

to let me through,

and I blessed them, too,

with a thousand silent thank yous,

astonished at how different we are,

how very much the same.

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for Merry Stoll

wahtola - 02

After I learn that she died,

I go to the garden, grateful

that there are petunias,

cosmos and snapdragons

to plant. Salvia, pansies, and

verbena that will drape its purple

kindness down the sides

of the planter. I don’t

put on my gloves. I let my hands

enter the soil and feel

how good the earth is.

This is how I best remember her,

with a trowel or a scissors in her hand,

ready to transplant, to trim,

to harvest the blooms

into a bouquet for the altar

or table. Flowers hung

in her garage to dry. Flowers

in her bathrooms, her dining room,

her kitchen. It came easy to her,

which stem to place where.

Which color, which ribbon,

which grass, which vase.

She left beauty all over the place.

Once she sat with me

on her green and white couch,

and let me read her poems,

a whole book of them.

We sat there for hours,

and she listened and laughed

at Shel Silverstein’s antics,

and as I read, I felt like a flower,

like something just at the edge

of bloom. Her attention

made me beautiful.

Today, the garden is just starting

to find itself after winter. I cannot help

but weep into the holes I have dug.

It is tender, this moment, and fragile

this life. I feel like making wild pledges—

to honor her legacy—to find

and share beauty everywhere I go.

I feel determined to keep my word.

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When Georgia painted the petunia,

she knew that to make busy people stop

in surprise and consider petunia,

 

she needed to make it large—

and she did—enormous petunias

revealed, unfolding along the wall—

 

and there the busy people saw

the intimate petals of women,

when all Georgia wanted to show them

 

was flower, the essence of flower,

the beauty of flower, the pure

purpled splendor of flower—

 

how soft, how sensual, how

wholly day stopping

a single flower can be.

 

 

to see the artwork, visit:

https://www.okeeffemuseum.org/store/products/posters/flowers/petunia-no-2-1924/

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In the Chicago Zoo

 

 

 

We stop beside the flamingos,

their necks more question marks

than exclamation points—

I revel in their improbable beauty,

how their very being

brightens the bleak midwinter,

wonder if I might

not find a little

pink in me.

 

 

 

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