On Beauty

What is Beauty, that Beast in all caps?
The beauty of beauty is beauty
(“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”)
wants no thought, bears no meaning.

We may begin by stating what beauty
is not: beauty can not be purchased,
beauty is not style nor fashion,
beauty is not transitory nor fixed,
serves no function, is non-cultural.

Beauty is cosmopolitan, universal.
Beauty is humble, avoids museums.
Beauty is not needy, invites no convo.
Beauty is meaningless, for sense,
that human construct, usurps beauty
of its principal pleasure.

Meaning (definition, interpretation,
reveal, tell-tale) translates forms,
the essence of beauty, into human
terms, where it loses its native essence.

We can not paint the soul, nor post
a pic of it.

Beauty is not the opposite
of ugly, tho ugly walks hand in hand
with beauty, speaks with beauty,
but beauty has no answer,
no comment.

And yet, Eco says:
“…an orgy of tolerance, the total syncretism and the absolute and unstoppable polytheism of Beauty.”
Which is to say, “Beauty! Get out of Dodge!”

Beauty is not a value, but a virtue.

We can of course get more involved:

But we grow weary of wearing
that same old tattered dress,
and find little tenderness
in your tries and stays.

We close our talk on beauty
with a beautiful poem
by e. e. cummings:

[O sweet spontaneous]


O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have

             fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched

,has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

        beauty      how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable
couch of death thy

             thou answerest

them only with


E. E. Cummings, “O sweet spontaneous” from Tulips & Chimneys. Copyright © 1923 by E. E. Cummings. Reprinted by permission of Public Domain. Copied from Poetry Foundation.

PS: We have been waiting
for your answer
this year.

The Cat’s Meough

The cat comes quietly a Sunday morning
blue eyes lightly freckled cheeks glossy
smooth silver fur tasselling corn down
lips oysters on the half shell half open
legs the dance of life waiting to erupt
on the private stage of her boudoir.

She walks in weird beauty this cat
on two legs with patience galore
knows full well her lustrous sheen
when seen in the crackling of old
magazines etiolates the cold celery
stalks flowering in the veggie garden.

For a cymbal cup of truth and trust
and what good has it ever done
her to have even one man shun
while another calls her gorgeous
rather have the cat in your lap
purring your fingers thru her pelt.

Sunday Morning (VI, VII, VIII)

In heaven in silence sit
vast statues of stone
on earth there is no quiet
stone clouds break open
what does the thunder say?
Don’t sit under the apple tree
fall is the mother of beauty
with anyone else but she.
She doesn’t like her picture
taken nor to be in a poem
does not care she is beauty
but takes time with her hair
avoids rules not her own.
Heaven falls from the sky
no heaven no earth below.

Words are not a product
of heaven but of earth.
Sunday morning returns
with a cup of French Roast
under a grapevine wreath
looped herbs and flowers.
The coffee smells of earth
the first gentle rain stirs
petrichor into the air
the dry grass two crows
the cat on the dirt path.
In heaven no senses no
tenses no need no rain
no sun no mud no crud.
All sense is earthbound.

Sunday morning slows
autumn leaves falling
where she lives and walks
in fine form and talks
of the lovely noisy
nights and dirty days
of clean kitchens
and open stays
all means understood
and confused all reason
clear and absurd
peaceful and happy
stones that turn
to stories and poems.
How many choices in one
heaven on one earth?

Sunday Morning (IV, V)

She is content with the calico cat
poosha the boy pilot who crashed
his plane in takeoff suckled home
the Stones on the transistor mother
smothered with a cover of beauty.
For content she talks about crows
the two in the street eating squish
squirrel but the murder on leaves
the warm asphalt melting summer
sun heat where does heaven hide
and why at night come monsters
from paradise looking for a name.
She will not join a community
whose purpose is to persecute
another heaven a different earth.

Satisfied she collects the stories
of the stones beauty calcified
in underground electromagnetic
waves on a static spirit oldie
station where sleeping birds
again awake to the murder
of the sun or return not
and even the earth’s rot
will not endure and old
trips up the coast memorized
in slide shows by campfires
that death may be related
to beauty the birth of moods
passion splurge now dead
urges flown to beauty’s abode.