#Beauty in #Poetry found in #Hell

On finding beauty in the inferno:

I found hell when I quit smoking weed, especially the first week. I felt like a newborn baby every morning for the first seven to nine days, but, now, the vision I have gained is a vision of the lack that I left before myself by being so removed from the reality I could have created. I missed the starting gun in life.

Beginning to live, I found this poem last week, and read it over and over again. Its the most beautiful thing I know at the moment. Richard Wilbur is a giant among giants in modern poetry.

The speaker observes the ocean, some gulls, some girls, and the waves washing over rocks from a beach at the bottom of a volcano, and reflects on the opposition between beauty and war. We are all at war. If you have found complete peace, please alert the media to your secret. God help us.

I am gaining firmer ground gradually. Literature like this poem finds me in perfect timing. Enjoy this timely piece…

On the Marginal Way
               for J. C. P.   
 
       Another cove of shale,
 But the beach here is rubbled with strange rock
    That is sleek, fluent, and taffy-pale.
 I sare, reminded with a little shock
 How, by a shore in Spain, George Barrow saw
 A hundred women basking in the raw.

       They must have looked like this,
 That catch of bodies on the sand, that strew
    Of rondure, crease, and orifice,
 Lap, flank, and knee—a too abundant view
 Which, though he'd had the lenses of a fly,
 Could not have waked desire in Borrow's eye.

       Has the light altered now?
 The rocks flush rose and have the melting shape
    Of bodies fallen anyhow.
 It is a Gericault of blood and rape,
 Some desert town despoiled, some caravan
 Pillaged, its people murdered to a man,

       And those who murdered them
 Galloping off, a rumpling line of dust
    Like the wave’s white, withdrawing hem.
 But now the vision of a colder lust
 Clears, as the wind goes chill and all is greyed
 By a swift cloud that drags a carrion shade.

       If these are bodies still,
 Theirs is a death too dead to look asleep,
    Like that of Auschwitz’ final kill,
 Poor slaty flesh abandoned in a heap
 And then, like sea-rocks buried by a wave,
 Bulldozed at last into a common grave.

       It is not tricks of sense
 But the time’s fright within me which distracts
    Least fancies into violence
 And makes my thought take cover in the facts,
 As now it does, remembering how the bed
 Of layered rock two miles above my head

       Hove ages up and broke
 Soundless asunder, when the shrinking skin
    Of Earth, blacked out by steam and smoke,
 Gave passage to the muddled fire within,
 Its crannies flooding with a sweat of quartz,
 And lathered magmas out of deep retorts

       Welled up, as here, to fill
 With tumbled rockmeal, stone-fume, lithic spray,
    The dike’s brief chasm and the sill.
 Weathered until the sixth and human day
 By standing winds and water, scuffed and brayed
 By the slow glacier’s heel, these forms were made

       That now recline and burn
 Comely as Eve and Adam, near a sea
    Transfigured by the sun’s return.
 And now three girls lie golden in the lee
 Of a great arm or thigh, and are as young
 As the bright boulders that they lie among.

       Though, high above the shore
 On someone’s porch, spread wings of newsprint flap
    The tidings of some dirty war,
 It is a perfect day: the waters clap
 Their hands and kindle, and the gull in flight
 Loses himself at moments, white in white,

       And like a breaking thought
 Joy for a moment floods into the mind,
    Blurting that all things shall be brought
 To the full state and stature of their kind,
 By what has found the manhood of this stone.
 May that vast motive wash and wash our own.

 By Richard Wilbur

Wilbur, Richard, New and Collected Poems, First Harvest, 1989

Author: djhamarman

Student, Loves People, Loves Reading and Writing, Loves Cooking, Loves the USA, 100% Believable

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