Poets are archaeologists, charged with excavating beauty from ruins. We are watchkeepers of human frailty and catastrophes, the infirmities of age, the inevitability of death. We point to the hidden tenderness of a rusted Edsel wedged in fields of yarrow, an apple made more beautiful by a spreading bruise. We dare ask, again and again, why we don’t understand what beauty is, but are compelled to seek out its most unexpected, least obvious arising.
Yellow frangipani flowers and purple bougainvillea are my companions every morning. I walk through the garden and touch their petals. Soft, silky and fragile. They caress my palms and fill my body with some strange tenderness.
I am, as the poet says, the stunned machine of her devotion. A dark pleated skirt, falling just past the knees. Black silk blouse, buttoned all the way. Pearls, of course, crystal earrings James gifted for her birthday, bangles, gold on each wrist. They caught the sunlight flowing in from the window, and I was dazzled.
I wish you could see what I see. A vast blue port sparkles in the afternoon sun that shines its bright band across the water. The dazzle makes me look left of it toward the bays and inlets and forested hills on the opposite shore. Below my balcony a cliff held together by lush shrubby trees drops steeply away to the esplanade, quiet on this cool May day.