Monday, February 08, 2010

Monday Poetry Stretch - On Beauty

I was a typical awkward teenager, with no confidence about the way I looked or dressed. I kept a small journal during this time with quotes and poems on beauty. Here are some of my favorite quotes.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.
Kahlil Gibran

Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.
Anne Frank

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.
David Hume
As I hear everyone talk about how beautiful the snow is, I'm reminded that we all see beauty in different things and different ways. So, let's write about beauty, shall we?

Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. I have to leave this quote:

    "Truth and beauty ain't the same thing, after all
    The things I've been reading on the restroom walls
    Are often true, but seldom beautiful."

    --Judy Henske, "Tin Star", from her album Loose in the World

  2. I don't have a poem but I did want you know I love your quotes. Beauty has always been a prized thing in societies, but I am lucky to have grown up in one that values hard work and academia just as much. Or at least that was my perception, which is why I grew up relatively unscarred by the issue of not being considered beautiful.

    But as a parent of two young children starting to think about such things in the current society, which seems a lot more beauty-conscious than mine when I grew up, I have to be prepared to introduce perspective and wisdom to them.

  3. Write a Poem about Beauty

    What isn't beautiful?
    Self-pity, cruelty,
    bodily excretions
    (except those of oysters),
    the hungry sound
    of a dentist's drill,
    office cubicles
    filled with grayness,
    most souvenirs—
    especially plastic ones
    in insincere colors,
    printed with place names.

    Just about everything
    else is beautiful.

    But the greatest beauty
    is the lively surprise
    of the singular universe
    behind human eyes.

    --Kate Coombs, 2010

  4. Mirrors

    All mirrors lie,
    showing me as I am,
    ravaged by age and gravity,
    by time and tears and loss.
    Here’s the scar on my chin
    from my tumble onto the concrete
    from the height of my skates,
    on Rosh Hashanah.
    There’s the mole I am too vain
    to have removed.
    The breasts sucked dry by three babies.
    The slash across my stomach muscles
    to mark where a fetus
    locked in the tube,
    had to be cut out.
    The frown lines that came
    from nursing my late husband,
    the smile lines from laughing at his jokes.
    The fingers crabbed with time.
    The toes twisted from ballet.
    The white slash where the new knee was inserted.
    The mark like an X on a treasure map
    where the doctor found my burst appendix.
    All mirrors lie, missing the me
    that husband, children, grandchildren see.
    Perhaps beauty does not reflect.
    Or we do not reflect upon beauty.

    ©2010 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

    By Steven Withrow

    First, believe in glories,
    in satellites and sorceries of sky.
    Any meddler in moonstuff
    who's punched enough holes
    in night will tell you:
    Doubt's the thing to lose.
    Certitude's essential
    in cleaving the celestial.
    Nothing grounds a moon deeper
    than doomy howls of gloom.
    Instead proceed as a boy
    might shape a ball of snow,
    mittens sugared with sweet cold,
    confident it will fly.
    Remember, all that is, is glory.
    Now look up.
    See the high, bright world you made.

  6. field of snow...
    the sparkle of the sun
    and the strutting crow

  7. No poem but the saying I heard all the time from my mom growing up: "Pretty is as pretty does."

  8. My mother used to say, "One must suffer for beauty." She was, I think, talking about diet, haircuts, and makeup. I heard it differently.


  9. Here's one of mine about beauty - or, more precisely, the loss of it:


    She likes her skin to be skin,
    likes only a thin tip of change,

    likes the shift sub-dermal,
    likes the inward gist of that.

    Change that's Meta is not her style.
    Why should people know?

    Why would Apollo chase her
    once the bark began to show?

  10. "once the bark began to show.. . " Shivers, Julie. The sign of a poem absolutely working for me.


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  12. Rose Window
    by Liz Korba

    I see through glass
    A solid thing
    Like beauty
    When it's there
    A verb