Friday, February 12, 2010

Poetry Stretch Results - On Beauty

The challenge this week was to write a poem on beauty. Here are the results.
Write a Poem about Beauty
by Kate Coombs of Book Aunt

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

by Jane Yolen

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 of Crackles of Speech

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.

Diane Mayr of Random Noodling shared this poem.

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

by Julie Larios of The Drift Record

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?

Rose Window
by Liz Korba of

I see through glass
A solid thing
Like beauty
When it's there
A verb
Today I'm sharing a poem inspired by the dictionary and my family. It's probably too prosaic to be poetry, but it's true. Perhaps truth is beauty too.
Beauty - That quality or combination of qualities which affords keen pleasure to other senses (e.g. that of hearing), or which charms the intellectual or moral faculties, through inherent grace, or fitness to a desired end (Oxford English Dictionary)

My father found beauty in
engine parts
unfashioned wood
Dixieland jazz

My mother in
children's smiles
handmade gifts

My sister in

My brother in
cars (he got the gene)
pure-bred dogs

Me in

All of us found it in
our parents
our children
our loves

What is beauty?
Whatever you believe it to be.
It's not too late if you still want to play. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll add it to the list.


  1. The slippered morning
    stabbed with pink
    makes my eyes ache.
    But still I watch,
    from the porch as
    the mountains unsmoke
    and gild themselves,
    their beauty reconstructing
    the heart –
    a world of difference
    reflected in a half-drunk
    cup of coffee
    carried back

  2. Tricia--I like your family portraits, and yes, they (portraits and family both) are beautiful!

  3. I actually finished this poem last week but lost the scrap of paper that I wrote it on, so I couldn’t post it. Yesterday, while cleaning the house, I found it buried under some other papers. So, here is my attempt at a quick poem on beauty, written during a very stressful week where it seemed there was little beauty to be had.

    Beauty is
    a napping toddler,
    an empty laundry room,
    a clean kitchen sink.
    Beauty is time.

    Beauty is
    a fire in the hearth,
    a favorite sweater,
    tea and a new book.
    Beauty is coziness.

    Beauty is
    the perfect word,
    a pad of paper near the shower,
    a fresh new chapter.
    Beauty is inspiration.

    Beauty is
    a morning tickle fest,
    a hug after a fight,
    a kiss before goodnight.
    Beauty is love.