True Beauty - Commentary and Poetry
I read a poem by Emily Dickinson called "In the Garden." It described a bird that was hopping around in the garden and interacting with a worm and a beetle. The language she used made me see the bird in a comical light. Then the bird took off. Instantly, Dickinson's style changed, and the bird didn't appear comical any more, but now embodied a mystic power over gravity that translated to beauty, grace and wonder.
I would like to include the last half of that poem, so you can see - and perhaps feel as I did - how her word usage changed the bird's actions from comical to poetic while it was in flight:
...He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all abroad, --
They looked like frightened beads, I thought;
He stirred his velvet head
Like one in danger; cautious,
I offered him a crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home
Than oars divide the ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or butterflies, off banks of noon,
Leap, plashless, as they swim.
This poem inspired me to try for similar contrasts in a different setting. I wanted to describe two women by using this method. The following poem is the result. Let's see if you see what I've tried to do:
Pause in your journey and see the boy sit with his father who is blind.
Within a crowd, the boy watches; the father listens, and tunes his mind.
They hear the voices of two young women; being sincere, they speak their heart.
Addressing each other, their names are learned, the four not being too far apart.
But mark it well: their speech is the norm; experience has changed the way we hear:
The ear makes poetic the thoughtful phrase, or turns the selfish to a dullen sneer:
Said Debra to Ranae, “Your words have potential,
Bred from royal hearts in fertile meadows—
Carriage of the playful zephyr,
Tune of inspiration for the deaf.
---“Yes,” Ranae replied,
---“Deaf, therefore dumb.
---He doesn’t heed my words.
---He doesn’t look at me.”
“But your countenance—the envy of the angels
Is seen more true to heart
Through deed of selfless demonstration
Than any truthful tongue can do.”
---“It’s too much work,” sighed Ranae.
---“He’ll never listen.
---He won’t buy me roses.
---He wants too much from me.”
“The lion is a lamb,” offered Debra,
“As appetite through gates of freedom
Drowns in image of the Id—
To drink the cup of purpose through the gloom.”
---“I just don’t get it.
---Why is he so?
---I’m getting revenge.
---He’ll be sorry.”
“I would rewrite perception, I’d stir the heart—
Your cause to re-direct and purify;
Smother my ego as curing diamonds
And deepen the tune of Cupid’s dreams.”
Before you leave, note the words of son and father:
“Papa, oh that you could see the beauty of Ranae!”
“My son, the eyes cannot know true grace;
The greater beauty of Debra shines as plain as day!”
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