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July 15, 2009


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What a strange and wonderful place, the cemetery. I'd never heard of it. And a haunting lovely poem too. Thank you.

That's a beautiful photo you took in Pere Lachaise. Does this meditation alter your understanding of that mysterious line of W. Stevens: "Death is the mother of beauty"?

Thanks for the kind remarks, David and Stacey. I love Stevens' "Sunday Morning", but the poem on this topic that speaks to me most is Rilke's first Duino Elegy: "For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure / and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us." That sense of awe, for me, is the impulse behind art. I felt that same mix of intense aesthetic pleasure and fear in Pere Lachaise. I think Stevens is pointing to the fact that despite our desire for it, there is no "imperishable bliss", only a fleeting sense of joy, and such is a given life. Death, by providing the door through which beauty comes and goes, is both a looming horror and a solace.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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