By: P.C. Scheponik
Beauty Sings in Silence
Today, when my wife and I were driving home from the grocery store,
the traffic stopped. The cars lined up quickly, bumper all but kissing bumper.
Summer sun danced off windshields, and the heat from the street rose in wavering
waves. What was the hold up— A breakdown? An accident?
I leaned out the window, craning my neck to see.
There they were, stretched out suddenly like an unexpected truth—
a line of Canadian geese, strolling breast to tail tip, stepping gingerly
across the hot concrete of the highway, webbed foot after webbed foot
rising and lowering like dark spatulas on a hot griddle, as they moved
in muted syncopation to the measured beat of a silent song.
Maybe it was God singing in their graceful goose genes, every allele
giving praise each time a webbed foot raised and lowered itself, bar
after bar of moving refrain.
And do you know what was so amazing—
the whole world stopped as that line of geese laid claim to that street
on that hot July day. Sometimes holiness stops us in our tracks.
Sometimes beauty sings in silence, calling us back to our better selves.
All morning blackbird chatters
from the top branches of the
honey locust tree.
What is he saying?
With such tenacity, he shakes
up the branches and rifles
through the leaves.
What might he be looking for?
From where I stand, I cannot see
I only hear the perseverance of
his disturbance, the persistence
of his voice.
There are laws in this world,
and language is one of them.
There are virtues, too, and
compassion is a choice.
If only I spoke blackbird.
Beauty and the Artist
Even as a very young child, something in my body—
or was it my soul, or my body that feels
like the only soul I have ever known—
something drew me outdoors where I
have always felt at home, so many places
to hide, to be alone with my thoughts,
which, back then, were mostly the tales
I told myself about good and evil, heroes
and villains, innocence and loss, and protection—
always protection against that which would destroy.
Was it goodness I held in my hand or beauty
that I cradled, the way Kong lifted the screaming
golden-haired girl? Beauty had such a delicious
scream. Even as a young boy, I couldn’t get enough
of it. I wanted to take beauty away to some secret
island in my heart, to keep her all to myself, to protect
her from everything and anyone else who might try to
harm or own her. Yes, beauty was mine, when I was still
that innocent child, before I grew into the monster of the
man who tore his way through the trees, who roared at the
walls, who demanded sacrifice.
The one whose heart would be broken for beauty’s sake.
The one whose hand would long for beauty’s touch.
The one who loved to hear beauty scream.
The one for whom beauty would never be enough.
P.C. Scheponik is a lifelong poet who lives by the sea with his wife, Shirley, and their shizon, Bella. His writing celebrates nature, the human condition, and the metaphysical mysteries of life. He has published six collections of poems. His work has also appeared in numerous literary journals. He is a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee.
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