..... poetry .....


  "The Truth Behind The Beauty"

      the quality that we so long for,
      a word of utter simplicity,
      its one vowel ooh at the heart of Jesus' word for God
      surrounded by two wispy consonants.

      the quality that draws us out,
      often involuntarily, 
      a word of intoxicating luminescence,
      its ooh surrounded by the brightest possible sound
      that a human can make,
      the long ee,  
      while beginning with a deeply voiced Buh

  How many times have we been drawn
       into the world of something
       truly beautiful?
  (Too many, to be sure).
  Like a bird that instinctively swoons to meet a flower
      of its own image.
  We know how fleeting Beauty can be,
      a product of chemicals and contexts 
      playing chess,
      the very sound of its vowels
      cascading through your consciousness
      as you speak it.

  Occasionally, we are lucky enough to breathe in that world,
      to stand in the heart of 
      (and backstage to) 
      that radiance.  
  Believing, of course, that working directly
      with people of inner beauty... outer beauty...
      will prolong our initial experience.
  It is only logical, we muse. 

  And so it begins—
      the cycles of Hope, Surrender, and Disbelief 
      that the beauty that so overtook us 
      would protect us from another onslaught of 
      human imperfection.

  It might have started at
      an inspiring ashram,
      a riveting performance,
      an embracing living community,
      an irreproachable political group,
      perhaps the very place where our life was just renewed!

  It does not matter where it begins,
      in fact,
      the loftier the goal,
      the farther the fall.

  The variations on bickering and in-fighting are,
      yes, endless.
  And yet,
      each time we experience this,
      we act surprised,
      as if it materialized out of nowhere,
      while having done nothing to fuel the drama...

  Equally incredulous is our notion that 
      we humans are the only source of such entertainment.
  That conflict does not exist in, let's say,
      the plant world.
  That their world embodies Truth,
      existing in perfect harmony,
      having transcended the need for conflict.

  More nonsense! 
  Just look at the combination of a rose's
      deliriously soft petals
      and vicious thorns.
  A bamboo tree's beautiful (and nutritious) leaves
      hiding its roots that will unseat
      an entire house's foundation!
  Did I mention the Venus Fly Trap?
  Our naked eyes cannot see
      all of their scheming, self-aggrandizement,
      and acts of desperation.

  Don't we still yearn for the embodiment
      of plants' supposed serenity?
  Are we not desperate to know their secret?

  The Truth that plants know is this:
     Be surprised at nothing.
        Know that Conflict is the skin 
           that Beauty is wrapped in.
  Welcome its richness...

  November 2009




©2010, Michael Smolens