Clouds laugh with secrets
(eternity may lie),
yet the grass breeze-dances
and the day fire-dazzles with desire-
“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night –William Shakespeare, Romeo, Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 5
“And the beauty is, when you realize, when you realize, Someone could be looking for a someone like you.” –Adam Guettel, “The Beauty Is” from the musical, The Light in the Piazza Song here.
“At such moments I don’t think about all the misery, but about the beauty that still remains. This is where Mother and I differ greatly. Her advice in the face of melancholy is “Think about all the suffering in the world and be thankful you’re not part of it.” My advice is: “Go outside, to the country, enjoy the sun and all nature has to offer. Go outside and try to recapture the happiness within yourself; think of all the beauty in yourself and in everything around you and be happy. –Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl, March 7, 1944
It’s a rainy Earth day,
the grey skies swaddle pink and white blossoms
Spring, verdant, full of life, thirsty, greedily drinks like a baby,
unselfconscious and we the admiring parents watch her,
she is beautiful, even when she’s a dirty mess.
A mother-daughter outing to see Beauty and the Beast,
the theater has reserved seats that we recline in ready for the magic to begin
— the Disney version of the story,
though we’re both impressed by Gaston, more nuanced than his cartoon version,
possibly charming at first in an oafish way
until the true darkness of his soul is revealed,
the mob scenes remind me a bit too much of history and recent events,
mobs inflamed by ignorant narcissists,
it’s happened throughout the ages
it happens now,
but how can I not enjoy a story where the heroine loves books,
a movie that is a shout out to literacy,
and where lovers bond over reading,
Belle reads poetry to the Beast,
he knows a quotation from her favorite play, Romeo and Juliet,
there’s singing and dancing, people and objects,
I had forgotten Audra McDonald was in this movie–
until she sang,
and I didn’t know Dan Stevens had such a fine voice,
(remember that time he was in a little series called Downton Abbey?)
we get a backstory for the Beast (which we both like)
Belle’s backstory is inserted more awkwardly,
Still it is an enjoyable couple of hours of mother and daughter time
And there is more beauty in the day
the beauty is. ..
a bowl of lemons
not exactly life giving them to us
as going to the store and buying six bags of them
and rather than lemonade, we mix them with vodka to make limoncello
aren’t grownup daughters fun!
So, we grate lemon peel,
the kitchen becomes gloriously lemon-scented,
a Chopin polonaise plays softly in the background,
(her husband’s study music),
we talk, of her girlfriends, of work, of this and that,
my husband has been doing yard work
(it’s not raining that hard, he says),
he sits at the table with us,
their dog chews on his toy,
their cat ventures out to see if it’s dinner time
When we’re finished, we eat takeout Pakistani food,
my husband and my son-in-law learn
the kind and talkative restaurant owner was educated at Oxford
(perhaps he is a book lover, too?)
And what do I do the next day with leftover lemons?
Make lemon cake, of course!
It’s beautiful and delicious.
And though there are beasts all around, the beauty is. . .
spending time with people you love,
enjoying good food and wine,
beauty simple and sudden,
striking you, when you look up from your morning coffee
to see the sun dawning over the neighbor’s white dogwood tree
the profound beauty of birth, mixed with blood and pain,
the simple beauty of a smile,
the beauty that is there within the beast,
the beauty is
it surrounds us
the beauty is. . .
in yourself and in everything around you
Today is Day 24, NaPoWriMo. We’re asked to write a poem of ekphasis, a poem inspired by a work of art. We’re challenged to base a poem on marginalia of medieval manuscripts. I suppose you could very loosely say I’ve done this, as they are beautiful and filled with beasts. (Such as this one )
Huffington Post summarizes some previous versions of Beauty and the Beast here.
Today is Yom HaShoah ( This year, it’s Sunset, April 23- Sunset April 24), Holocaust Remembrance Day. I wonder what Anne Frank would be writing about now, and if she would still see beauty in the world.