Unpublished: Fragment

the smallest intake of beauty
breaks me
carrying me, always, to the edge of tears
I cannot breathe
when overtaken
by birdsong
or captured
by the dance of a child
or arrested
by the chance meeting with flowers
standing vigil by a grave

--an unpublished fragment of a poem

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2 thoughts on “Unpublished: Fragment”

  1. A beautiful poem; and I mean that sincerely.

    I love writing poetry, but it can be torturous. Meaning that I have, with a ceremonial pronouncement of "CRAP!", tossed more into the trash than I have kept.

    Two of my favorite poets are Adrienne Rich and Wendell Berry. Adrienne wrote often from her pain and her mourning for the wounds in others; Wendell from his recognition of beauty; both wrote from love. One book of poetry I keep close by is a gift from my daughter, "Good Poems", a collection put together by Garrison Keillor.

    The joy I find in writing poems is in the hope and excitement that they will be passed down from Children to grandchildren. No doubt, as they read them they will often ask, "What in the world did he mean by that?!" At least I will keep them thinking.

    By the way, when I was reading your poem, I found myself thinking as I sometimes do when reading Berry and Rich, "I wish I had written that".

  2. Strange, isn't it, that to call something beautiful is to privilege the point of view by which it is conceived so, whereas to have a beautiful heart is to have a heart that generously advances a privileged point of view to all. "strange," because "privilege" has no meaning if applied to "all." Ray Steven's pop hit (#1 in US in 1970), "Everything is Beautiful," solved the philosophical dilemma by qualifying, "in its own way." If what is ugly in all ways is unlovable (hard to argue against), then either agape asks us to love the unlovable, or Ray Stevens' song was right and the work of faith is to find "the way" in all cases that confront us.

    Of course, privileging our own point of view is the very devil that confounds us all. I've forgotten the title of the Hopkins poem that begins with a small girl named Margaret who is "grieving over yon golden grove unleaving." Hopkins takes the reader through a reflection in the poem that concludes with, "...leaves like the things of man, you with your fresh thoughts care for can you? Ah, as the heart grows colder, it shall come to such sights colder, by and by nor spare a sigh, though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie. And yet you will weep and know why. It is the blight man was born for. It is Margaret you morn for." (From memory--got the gist of it though.)To privilege a beautiful thing in our heart, then, is to set oneself up for loss.

    "the smallest intake of beauty
    breaks me"


    Beautiful--in its own way.

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