Posts Tagged ‘Poetry
So wrote John Keats in 1819 in “Ode on a Grecian Urn” one of the five ‘great odes’ written that year. Ever since then, those two lines are perhaps the most argued & debated lines in English poetry; their meaning & intent disputed by all the great writers and critics that followed. If one considers Keats’ statement valid, and one agrees with his idea of beauty (symmetry, elegant, pleasing visually) one then consigns much of the modern arts (visual, aural, written) to the dustbin. So, in response, many have stated that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ which allows them to neatly sidestep Keats’ proclamation.
You do have to admit though, that sometimes a pretty picture is a valid form of expression or that an eloquent turn of language, in its setting, is, in and of itself, beautiful (and thus truthful) at that moment of its existence.
If truth can be found in beauty, and the definition of beauty is large enough to encompass all time, all things then the simplest, prettiest, most pleasing (and its complete opposite) to any one viewer/reader/listener would fall to their own taste. How can we (or anyone) condemn that? All of us are entitled to our opinion regarding what we consider beautiful & meaningful & inspiring & eloquent & soothing & thought-provoking & restful & pleasing.
Isn’t their enjoyment, regardless of your opinion of their art/book/music, as valid as yours? Of course, it is. Beauty & its individual meaning is only accessible via the life experience of the viewer/reader/listener. Yet at the same time, as humans we still share a common thread of understanding and passion, a uniformity of the mind if you will that allows us to appreciate & viscerally connect with that which we are unfamiliar with & perhaps afraid of or disdainful of (disdain–the first defense of the sycophant & pedant.)
It’s true that there is art, music, literature that I find abysmal, but I applaud & encourage those whose taste runs counter to mine; for finding their truth, their beauty where they can, when they can & how they can.
the crow did not want to die in such a public manner
but death came up behind it and batted it out of the sky
it fell in an elliptical spiral, hesitating from the updraft
of the cars speeding by on the freeway below then plummeting
and hitting the pavement between two lanes with an unheard thud
one wing standing straight up in a avian salute
feathers splayed, shimmering & shivering in the rush of the hour
a juaneno headdress headless & heedless
the crow knew the time had come for death, its good intention
to fly to the sheltered grove of trees, close, as the crow flies
& find a quiet bower to rest & pass what time was left
with a caw/a preening/a settling of scores
as many animals do & arrange his still life a la chardin
(a rabbit recently found dead & curled around the base of the
fountain in our yard on a bed of withered leaves & dried flowers
a palette of taupe, pale pink & cream)
death, with its timepiece & schedule, laid those plans aside
& passengers & drivers never noticed the crow or its fluttering
feathers, a funeral cortège of speeding cars, save for one or two
quick realizations of what had come to pass perhaps nodded in
sympathy or at least a visceral understanding of a life brought still.
Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920. 1. The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,/And sorry I could not travel both/And be one traveler, long I stood/And looked down one as far as I could/To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,/And having perhaps the better claim,/Because it was grassy and wanted wear;/Though as for that the passing there/Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black./Oh, I kept the first for another day!/Yet knowing how way leads on to way,/I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence:/Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
The black Adonis stands in the
Golden doorway awaiting his lover.
Impatience flickers, a rose petal
Tongue flutters in a velvet sigh.
An apparition melting into the colossal darkness
Bathed in auroreal amber incandescence
Silhouetted/the mythic shades of desire,
Details a blur of incomprehension as the light
Within pinks a palm, flashed this way
Flat ivory tusked nails flip a light,
Exhalation, smoke wraps its gray silken
Hair around his Taurean neck and dissipates.
His death, his birth are waves breaking against the shore, water tongues ululating against the hardness of the land.
Torso/waist/thighs/feet fell those who honor him.
He walks in the heat of the moonless night
Current coursing through the skeleton, the muscle,
The sinew; sparks radiate from his smile, his glistening hair,
The sweat sheen of his skin details a crown of