Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Beauty (2003)

Let’s say that beauty is an analogue
for the organs of rebirth. That desire
and its consummations are a homewarding
boat which can—sometimes—cross water.
It is piano jazz on a summer afternoon.
It is my wife’s shape turned away from me
in sleep, curved into the softest wave.
It is our cat staring out at late rain and then
back at me with such blue so naked eyes.
Each encounter with beauty blends the next
source with some other, earlier swoon—my
mother’s voice become the sea’s, the
wash of night storms draining through 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
strange sweetness like a map to a distant aching
land where your first love smiles 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, urging you to begin.


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