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.