Holding on

Reading a lot of Ann Carson lately. Hope you don’t mind.

I overlooked one thing.
That the beautiful when I encountered it would turn out to be
prior–inside my own heart,
already eaten.
Not out there with the purposiveness, with temples, with God.
Inside. He was already me.
Condition of me.
As if Kutuzov had found himself charging across the battlefield at Borodino
toward–

not the emperor Napoleon but a certain old king Midas
whose weapons
touched half the Russian army into bitter boys of gold.

Words, wheat, conditions, gold, more than thirty years of it fizzing around in me–
there
I lay it to rest.
You smile, I think
you are going to mention again
those illuminated manuscripts from medieval times where the scribe
has made an error in copying
so the illuminator encloses the error
in a circlet of roses and flames

which a saucy little devil is trying to tug off the side of the page.
After all the heart is not a small stone
to be rolled this way and that.
The mind is not a box
to be shut fast.

And yet it is!
It is!

Well life has some risks. Love is one. Terrible risks.
Ray would have said
Fate’s my bait and bait’s my fate.
On a June evening.
Here’s my advice,
hold.

Hold beauty.

from The Beauty of the Husband

I’m holding it.

I’m trying.

Sometimes I forget, and it slips from my fingers.

But it’s still there, see? I just have to lean over, and pick it up again.

 

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2 thoughts on “Holding on

  1. You won’t be surprised that I don’t understand much of this, but certainly one line jumped out at me:

    Well life has some risks. Love is one. Terrible risks.

    I think that’s an important point. – that life is uncertain. Risky. And every day we decide how to deal with that risk. That’s a process I’m aware of in my life, anyway.

  2. Yeah, I like that. I like this, too: “That the beautiful when I encountered it would turn out to be
    prior–inside my own heart,
    already eaten.
    Not out there with the purposiveness, with temples, with God.
    Inside. He was already me.
    Condition of me.”

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