Category: Poetry

Creating Beauty for No Particular Reason

In keeping with my latest goal of creating beauty, I’m finishing up a wrap I started knitting during the Christmas season. The wool was ridiculously expensive, but I couldn’t resist the colors.

Sometimes spending a lot of money on something beautiful is worth it.

I originally bought the yarn for two pillows I wanted to knit for the sofa, but I decided those colors were meant to be worn and draped around someone’s shoulders.

I’m not sure if I’ll keep the wrap for myself, sell it, or give it away. It doesn’t really matter what I decide to do with it. It’s all about creating beauty.

Have you noticed, like me, that there isn’t enough beauty in our man-made world? When I look around the city where I live, I see a lot of generic sameness. I acknowledge that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but it seems too often today that if something doesn’t have a strictly utilitarian purpose it has no value.

I disagree wholeheartedly.

I love poetry. When I’m in the right mood, I love to curl up with my favorite poems and swim in the words. Reading poetry is such a visceral, emotional experience. Certain opera arias have the same effect and can bring me to tears.

The last time I took the train I noticed that poems had been posted on the walls. I loved it, and read the poem on the wall above me over and over.

What a great way to get to work, reading a poem instead of an advertisement. I loved that someone had the idea to post the poems, something that seems so frivolous, yet beautiful.

Children understand the need to create something beautiful. There were always certain kids in my classes who couldn’t stop themselves from constantly doodling, sketching, writing, folding, and making. It wasn’t boredom. Boredom is spitballs, talking, falling asleep, and knocking your book on the floor on purpose.

This was making and doing just because you can’t help yourself.

I understand those kids because I used to be just like them, only I usually saved it for the privacy of my bedroom where no one could see me. I generally like to keep my creative projects to myself, maybe because showing them to the world is showing a little too much of yourself.

Nothing exposes you more than poetry. I used to write a lot more, but rarely showed my work to anyone. Even if it’s unclear who or what the poem is about, you can’t hide the emotion, and showing others your deepest feelings in a poem is like standing naked in a snowstorm.

Knitting something is a little less gut wrenching and transparent. For some reason, I feel almost guilty when I take time to knit during the day. I feel the same way about reading a book. Maybe it comes from all those years of teaching and feeling like I had to stay “busy” every second of the day, but knitting doesn’t feel like real work.

And perhaps that’s the whole point of creating beauty, that it shouldn’t feel like work, that there shouldn’t be any point to it, other than bringing something beautiful to life.

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The World Stopped for the Buffalo – a poem

We climbed to the top and the world stopped

The day the buffalo crossed the Yellowstone River.

We watched in wonder

And our lives made sense,

Knowing the animals didn’t need us.

We stood at the center of the caldera

While everything swirled around us.

We were dizzy from the beauty of it all.

The tree spread its arms to shelter us from the storm

And we ran breathless down the mountain,

Down the road, to the double rainbow in West Texas.

You were the boulder I stood on at the edge of the canyon,

The fire you made with the wet wood,

The trail that led we knew not where,

And the grizzly who came to us from the trees.

You could leave now

And nothing would change.

All the things we’ve said and seen and heard

Could neither be forgotten nor erased.

They are the threads that will keep me safe

No matter what detours we take.

I will knit those strands together and make a life

Of everything we’ve done.

7/31/08