Thanks for being here with us this Saturday afternoon. I can only hope that wherever you are in the world, the weather is as beautiful and inspiring as it is here in Western New York right now.
For today’s Poetics I’d like for us to delve into all things beautiful. There really isn’t any one way to feel or in that matter, express beauty. The entire process is quite subjective, and life offers every perspective something that will entrance the beholder, stirring forth emotions of expression that release endorphins, calm the clutter in the mind and just inspire us to reflect upon the wonder that exists all about us.
Certainly it is easier to find beauty on a day like today. All the light bathes everything in its well-lit path. The greens look greener; the sounds of children playing in their yards echo a free and youthful vibrancy we often tend to not remember during the cold and wintry months. But again, this is just one aspect of the beauty that is, again, literally everywhere. When approaching such a subject, I like to think one’s impression and reaction to what they consider to be beautiful comes from a place within, a place that is specific to each and every person. What I find beautiful, another may consider being mundane or even devoid of attracting qualities. This is one of the reasons that make humanity so intriguing from a psychological viewpoint. Oftentimes we keep our likes and dislikes inside of us. This is fine, if it fills you, it still fills you however you choose to filter your expressions. However, I find it so incredible to find out how and what others visions of beauty are, and a lot of this comes down to what one believes in and how they use that belief to process their art.
I believe in love. In fact I’m a fool for it. It is in my nature, and I make no apologies for what permeates my consistency.
I believe in the beautiful. My vision of beauty is not the Hollywood Pin-Up ideal, however, that vision certainly does garner its own appeal. I believe in points of attention and the extrapolation of traits and characteristics. These, one, two, three, four, five or six, perhaps more, each can represent the beautiful, superseding all else that may deteriorate the vision seen by narrower eyes.
I love contrast. I so very much delight in its existence. There, in my opinion, is no better way to immerse the senses in what love or beauty stands for, than to create a universe of abysmal things, where the most prominent point(s) of attention, the one(s) that drown(s) the rest out, is the object of one’s truth and affection. This ideal, I believe, is the purest avenue for eliciting overarching depictions of just how one feels within. Such a process seems to me as idyllic when one is immersed in the whirlwind of emotions spawned by or towards your inamorata(s). Often, amongst the landscape of bleak or darkened cartography, the beautiful will transcend all things ugly and from this contrast, the most heart-felt serenade of beauty is birthed.
I tend to harp upon a topic until it screams at me with its brilliant lungs. Then I go back and slay the words that the sentiment had broken apart from. If a sentiment is pure, I feel there should be no limitation to one’s devotion. The same metaphor, each identical contrasting thought, is wonderful in its own manner. Each offers up a different facet of adoration. Each exemplar brings with it, a sense of wholeness, and a form of balance, truly worthy of the deportment found within the author’s soul.
There are many ways to describe a work of art, which, to me, is exactly what one’s predilections of all things beautiful stand to be. The object(s) themselves are of beauty and then, through this object, another work of artistry is created within the beholder’s being. Such delineations can be rare to find, yet many also appear mere centimeters from one’s last vision. Here, we may believe we’ve seen a beauty being comparison, one that we feel strongly will never be experienced in our lifetimes, yet, in the next frame, life surprises us, by offering a vision that is no less provident than the image seen but moments earlier.
Nevertheless, with this all said, I find my metaphors varying slightly in each depiction, where the slightest deviation bears the fruit of a brilliance many moons away. The beautiful never fails to amaze me. The slightest detail often contains the code to internal significance. Each import to the sentiment exposed within, where, residing in us, lives the expressions of many lifetimes, all seemingly crafted out of what the casual observer could claim to be but a slim difference from the ordinary.
Each person has his or her own unique definition of beauty. This is, in itself, is an amazing feat, not in regards to individuality or preference alone, but as to how the nature of what is conceived as beautiful to one, can be ugly or commonplace to another. This notion, to me, is what living is about, to be open and aware to the many variations of beauty that exist in life. If one keeps their eyes alert to possibility, he or she can travel dimensions and worlds away, into a rapture that is only a mere vision from where we currently stare.
And to those who claim they can only see the darkness or the ugliness in the world I truly feel sorry for them. These people only see those images that rage easily, as they find a sickened sense of solace in observing misery. These are those who allow their souls to fall prey to such vulgarities the world has to offer, never taking that extra moment to find the silver lining or moment of natural beauty amongst the carnage they too easily succumb to.
Yet, it is true, that such victims become inundated by those sights painted, and painted prevalently they are, across life’s informational mediums. Such scenes exist in abundance, from the violence and depressions depicted on our televisions, to the biased and deflated worldviews printed in our newspapers and magazines, and to those stories of pain and suffering that readily are labeled as public interest stories and thusly fill up so many of the sites frequented on the internet.
While it is important to keep abreast on current events, it is also ultra-imperative to keep one’s bearings, to remain positive and open, even when things are bleak, oppressive and seemingly untenable. Unfortunately there are many more who fail to see beauty and to those people, all I can say, is that it is a pity that they choose to keep their minds closed off to the never-ending offerings that abound and teem, within every single moment of every single day.
For those that truly remain open to the beautiful in the world, they will find it, in folds and folds, as beauty is ever-present and available, to all who choose to see. And those who can and do accept such visions, well, then, I believe it is easy to claim, that these people will never see the world the same again.
Contrast, again, is a very important device at one’s disposal. By choosing to illustrate your choices in such a manner, you are not only illuminating the beauty that you wish to be found within, but are also creating a sense of balance as well. Balance is wholeness and becoming whole should be a quest we all heartily welcome in our lives.
I’ve included a few examples of how one can harvest beauty, or anything for that manner, by using contrast as a thematic point of emphasis. There are many, many variations and methods for using such a powerful device as contrast, these are but two of the ways I’m choosing to include for the purpose of highlighting and heightening the use of beauty in one’s writing.
A tiger, in all her glory, seductively prowls the terrain. It slow-dances across the conquered gazelle, whose flesh lay tattered and torn. Yet, amidst the carnage, one cannot ignore such an observation, as that of a heart that beats still, proving the glory, persistence, endurance and depths the heart can take, making such grand impressions upon each and every of of us that chooses to observe with an openness rarely found in the modern world.
This passage takes the predator and the prey, romanticizing elements for each, which, in metaphor, both fit aptly to the object of one’s affection.
Then, you could also have something like this:
A million hours have been spent descending past the wreckage. The plane was supposed to take us to the
Promised land, the site as to where all dreams would find their realization. Instead, nightmares cloister the atmosphere, deep, dark terrors of the mind. The flames rise above the smoke and signal victory to the watching heavens. Congested from the massive inhalations, the lungs feel as if they shall combust upon the next jag of wind expired. Each step taken is a year removed. Bone fragments pierce through flesh, basking in the ill-tempered breeze. Step upon step, the mortality within subsides, until, there is flat rock and no further steps to take. We pander onward, feeling the wretched heat pulsate up through the rubber soles and into the sensitive portions found in the arch of each foot. The piercing sensation, like a thousand white-hot daggers injected with a fervor unknown to any living being, does not subside, yet garners more and more fury with each step taken into this darkened realm. Beneath the wreckage, now, many, many miles above, we pray for finality. Exhausted, ravaged and ready to desist of whatever hope still remains, we encounter yet another obstacle. The sound streaks upwards and out, swarming about us like a tempest on holiday. The tonality is deafening, and only described as a billion souls screaming in the most brutal agony imaginable. Their suffering absorbs the sky and all its surroundings. The din and calamity grows and soon is everywhere, no matter the direction or determination, it will be heard and each sound will be felt a thousand times over. Yet, therein lives the contrast. Amidst the screams of torture, an abruptness collides. Where each victim’s plea for cessation is the like the loudest cry imaginable, a mesmerizing countermeasure comes to life. As these poor souls, brittle from eons of such extreme examples of sadistic gamesmanship, simply wish for relief to end their ordeals, a shift in observation reveals a light previously cloaked within the miserable setting. Here, a single harp is revealed. Its beautifully cleansing notes could be heard a trillion miles away. It emanates from some unseen dimension, well beyond anyplace, man, living or deceased, is accustomed to. And despite the present situation, this single pluck of string fills the heart with the most resounding thralls of joy, hope and a beauty that shall pervade the depths of the chasm itself.
Obviously this passage is much longer than the first example, yet it also contains the contrast of desire and reality, good and evil, pain and endurance. But most of all, it shows how a trait of beauty, in this case a simple sound, can be so meaningful, that it can drown out the pangs of perdition, bringing forth a sense of hope, to a seemingly impossible situation previously devoid of anything remotely synonymous.
So, for today’s Poetics, get your pens ready. Dig deep down into your toolkit for metaphors, adjectives and adverbs, yes, adverbs, and create something beautiful. Although I’ve spent much time speaking on the advantages of contrast, it is not necessary for you to choose the same course for your own work. Perhaps contrast doesn’t work for you in the way it does for me. The object of this Poetics is to keep your eyes alert to the beauty that surrounds us, whether it be staring at or into the most beautiful person you’ve ever seen before, or plucking out the beauty that can be found everywhere, and then to construct your piece with this notion of beauty in mind. Contrast is but one tool at your disposal if you choose to, yet there are many, many others that you may also consider, again, as beauty is found, within everything.
Heres How It Works:
• Write your poem and post it to your blog
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