The Mystery of Beauty

William_Hobman_Hunt_Christ_and_the_Two_Marys

Christ and Two Marys, William Holman Hunt

“Beauty will save the world!” the old man said.

But my son did not pray for the world.

Its stones, crowns and kingdoms held no light for him.

My only son, my beautiful son.

Who looked like Mary his mother, an echo of Eve,

She who was never marred by sin.

Like lightning striking a fig tree,

he could root you to the earth with a look.

He did not call down fire from Heaven,

for he was the fire, and those who drew near were scorched by his beauty.

And never was he more beautiful than on that one day, that singular day,

when he opened himself to the world, the world he did not pray for.

There was no beauty to be found for three days after,

for he was wandering the lands of the dead, looking for your new face.

Like Psyche, he returned with a prize, and he had saved the world

and your race, while finding Beauty.

And then he came back to me, the son who I had missed for so long.

But first he gave Beauty to the world,

and she came forth, veiled, from the Tomb in a new gown.

An unstained garment.

“You are beautiful,” he said, “But you will serve your sisters.”

And there he made the fateful introduction, for standing on either side of him

were Truth and Goodness.

They were not afraid of her, nor jealous, nor covetous.

Having Charity, they loved her, having Faith, they never doubted her,

and having Hope, they would never give up on her.

These three girl cousins, who walked the road with the newly acquainted sisters,

who have their own story, gave the new one their blessing.

This beautiful new sister.

She is the bold one, Beauty, though she is veiled.

She is the first one to greet you, the first one you see,

though you will never see her face till you enter her home,

where she lives with her sisters, my son and his mother.

There she will possess you and be possessed by you in a lasting embrace,

and no veil will divide her from you, or you from my son.

(My beautiful son, who saved the world).

But you cannot cling to her now, only after you ascend to me, your Father.

This is my will for you and her, my dutiful daughter, Beauty.

She is beautiful because she points away from herself,

to Truth and Goodness.

That is why she captures your eyes, and makes them hers.

Yet she frees them, and when she turns her head,

you must follow the path of her gaze, which leads to her sisters.

If you cling to her, Beauty fades and withers.

She is delicate as a breeze, a scent, or a whisper.

Her gown softly rustles as she approaches,

she likes to come upon you unawares, when you are defenseless.

Treat her well, this dutiful daughter of mine,

who helps my son to save the world.

 

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Filed under Poetry

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