Tuesday, October 5, 2010

133. Impotentate of Beauty

Wise and wizened,
take a sample of a poem
and see if it is potable.

We are filled with
the sweet poison of words.

Ever taste the honeyed sweetness of a yewberry?
The beautiful red arils of the yew?
which are sweet and gelatinous
around a dark and poisonous seed.
I’ve eaten a seed
but its poison’d gone
straight through me,
so I live to warn you
of the perils of beauty.

There is in that soft red glowing flesh
the dream of poison, the dream
of sleeping it all away
back to nothing,
of release.

The needles of the tree
are poison, as is that dark seed,
so we grow the bushes
close to our homes
and in bright and happy sunlight.

The yew’d be a poem if it could be.
Or the yew’s already a poem,
for a poem’s but a metaphor,
hidden from or revealed to us.

These words are poisonous
only if you believe them.
The yew’s seed is poisonous
only if you break through
its shell to what it holds
inside of itself and deeply so.

To survive, we must expel
the poison of words, how
they make us believe what
is not true, how they sit
gracefully and entice us
in their direction, how
they force us to accept
this moment of grace
they bestow upon us.

Without the aid sunshine,
in a room dark, save for
the final bulb
of the chandelier shining
down upon me, shining
down upon my bald pate,
I write this poem to you
about the trouble with words
and their beauty.

I would like to read these
to you and Leevi, who is
not a pair of jeans, in a
bar in the port of Hanko,
in a bar where they would
not understand the rigid
imaginative verse that
your Leevi writes, in
the port of Hanko, whence
so many Finns departed
for this, my, homeland,
losing a beautiful land
between light and dark,
because they wanted to
escape the poison that
all beauty is, because
they believed it better to
die half the globe away
from the simple but
beautiful wooden houses
they were from, because
they had learned
of the danger of beauty
and they were intent
to avoid it until they died.

And they did die.
Only their descendants remain,
fearful of beauty to this day.

But the yewberry’s still sweet,
and I still eat it, but I spit away
the seed, because taking half the beauty
saves me from
the poison beauty always is.

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