Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Beauty (June 2004)

Let’s say that beauty is an analogue
for the the organs of rebirth. That desire
and its consummations are a homewarding
boat which can -- and will -- cross water.
Like soft piano jazz on a summer afternoon.
Or my wife’s shape turned away from me in sleep.
Our cat staring out at late rain and then
back on me with such blue so naked eyes.
Each encounter with beauty masks the source
with some other, earlier swoon -- my
mother’s voice become the sea’s, the
wash of night storms empurpling in this poem.
You walk the beach at first light, alone in stilled
immensity, and see ahead a washed-up gleaming shell.
Pick it up and hold it in your hand, reading its
curved sweetness like a map to a distant, strangely
aching land where your first love still stands
ankle-deep in a warm tide. To know beauty is to valve
a heart that beats below its name. Ten
thousand beauties harbor in the day, each a chapel
of salt and flame, waiting for you to begin.


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