Wednesday, November 19, 2014

frayed loveliness


by Donald Justice

It's snowing this afternoon and there are no flowers.
There is only this sound of falling, quiet and remote,
Like the memory of scales descending the white keys
Of a childhood piano—outside the window, palms!
And the heavy head of the cereus, inclining,
Soon to let down its white or yellow-white.

Now, only these poor snow-flowers in a heap,
Like the memory of a white dress cast down . . .
So much has fallen.
And I, who have listened for a step
All afternoon, hear it now, but already falling away,
Already in memory. And the terrible scales descending
On the silent piano; the snow; and the absent flowers


"It's true, I think, as Kenko says in his Idleness,
That all beauty depends upon disappearance,
The bitten edges of things,
                    the gradual sliding away
Into tissue and memory,
                    the uncertainty
And dazzling impermanence of days we beg our meanings from,
And their frayed loveliness."

- Charles Wright from The World of the Ten Thousand Things

"Dreamers like a severe winter," says Baudelaire, and I am well into my usual winter reveries. Thinking about beauty, impermanence, and as Charles Wright calls it, the 'frayed loveliness' and 'the bitten edges of things.' I'm collecting phrases to describe snow, the 'white dress cast down' and the falling of snow like 'scales descending on the silent piano.'

The photos were taken the same day as yesterday's photos, in my yard. The same sunflowers, at their wit's end by now, mad, frayed, lovely.

The decorative ball hanging in our cherry tree.

And then the Tibetan bells I have in the front yard, which I seem to capture at least once each year, frosted, sugared, bitten.

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