Sunday, March 9, 2008

Something beautiful for Monday

Beauty is momentary in the mind —
The fitful tracing of a portal;
But in the flesh it is immortal.

The body dies; the body's beauty lives.
So evenings die, in their green going,
A wave, interminably flowing.
So gardens die, their meek breath scenting
The cowl of winter, done repenting.
So maidens die, to the auroral
Celebration of a maiden's choral.

Susanna's music touched the bawdy strings
Of those white elders; but, escaping,
Left only Death's ironic scraping.
Now, in its immortality, it plays
On the clear viol of her memory,
And makes a constant sacrament of praise.

From "Peter Quince at the Clavier" by Wallace Stevens. Read the complete poem here.

Susanna and the Elders (detail), Tintoretto, c. 1555. Image from Web Gallery of Art.

The story of Susanna and the Elders in the Book of Daniel is here.


Renee said...

I do love Wallace Stevens! and the painting is gawjuss.

BitterGrace said...

I've always adored that painting.

Perfumeshrine said...

How could they show such abundance of flesh, yet sooooo beautiful?
Thank you!

chayaruchama said...

I really don't know which I love more-
Poem or picture.
Probably gonna be the BEST part of my day...

Mary said...

Beautiful light and shadow in that painting.

BitterGrace said...

Gosh, you're right, Mary. I never really noticed that before. I was all distracted by the details of her hair, and her pretty foot.

It is strange that her beauty is so obvious to us, even though her size would be frowned on today (to say the least.) I suppose it's because Tintoretto was not blinded by our prejudices. He saw her beauty, so he was able to paint it.

Hope your day was better than expected, Chaya!