Archives for posts with tag: beauty
Edouard Manet, The Masked Ball at the Opera (c.1873), oil on canvas, 59.1 x 72.5 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA. Image courtesy of Wikiart.org

Edouard Manet, The Masked Ball at the Opera (c.1873), oil on canvas, 59.1 x 72.5 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA. Image courtesy of Wikiart.org

All the beautiful people, darling,
are at the opera house tonight.
They’re wearing their tasteful sparkles, darling.
At interval their drinks order’s laid out.

Atop the bar, an isle in the crowd,
a row of champagne bottles direct their corks:
To a man with an eye-patch who conducts
with a dress ring of diamanté.

At a prom pouffe black dress
brought to taste in a cinch, by a double C.
For the camp contrapposto at ease with a
whisper at the silver ice-bucket.

Mon cherie, you should have been here
on opening night when everyone…
He leant over into the gold drops
dingling and weighing from her ears.

All the beautiful people, darling,
are at the opera house tonight.
They’re wearing their tasteful sparkles, darling.
See at interval their drinks order’s laid out?

They’re terribly civilised at the opera, darling,
as beautiful people are.
Only beautiful people, darling,
populate this muse’s arena.

An elderly one strolls out on the terrace, wears a skullcap
to keep warm where one there was hair.

Inside champagne corks from the glittering bar
aim at the gossip and theatrical flares.
For in Covent Garden, darling, even the Christmas lights declare
All the beautiful people, darling, are this side of the square.


Last Thursday I attended a triple bill of contemporary ballet at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. This little verse unfolded as I indulged in some people watching during the two intervals.

Yes, there really was a man wearing an eye-patch waving his diamanté dress ring. In fact, at one point I thought there was more theatricality in the audience than on the stage.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

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Colias croceus – the Clouded Yellow Butterfly. Image courtesy of Zeynel Cebeci via Wikimedia Commons.

I will be 80 this year
here in my flat
only a mile and a half
from where I was born.
I have tried 
to lead by example, by
plunging my narrow balcony
into the principality of hanging gardens.

Concrete is brutal.
It needs softening.
Plants should have dominion.

We breakfast amidst the crisp verdure
and watch a nesting bird,
fledgling wrens, butterflies 
and such wild visitors.
The flat faces of the 
daisies, pansies and geraniums 
accrue the afternoon and evening sun.
Most years –
A wren nests somewhere
blanketed by the ivy leaves.
Her fledglings zing past 
while we’re eating.
They’ll even call 
on us at table.
In warm summers,
the clouded yellow butterfly 
may join us from abroad.


Sometimes some quirky combination of words and images will capture my imagination. This time last year it was a comment in a Gudrun Sjödén catalogue about a Senegalese artist who sculpted birds from flotsam-and-jetsam.

Sunday last, the Guardian Weekend’s column “How does your garden grow?” hooked me. William Howard’s evocative interview about his balcony garden in the Barbican (London) – and the fantastic photograph of him in from of his verdant kingdom – had me enthralled. (Read the interview from the 28th June 2014 Guardian Weekend here.). “This garden,” explains Howard, “is about memories, sharing and reminding people to look – really look.”

Perhaps being a poet is in some respects like being a gardener.

(P.S. One of the most affecting books I read during my young adolescence was Rumer Godden’s An Episode of Sparrows, in which a scrabble of children try to grow a garden and learn how to look – really look.)

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012