Beauty is not only true—but kind.

I witnessed a modernist lose his mind

Deploring what the imaginative Keats had said,

Who left for Rome—when England’s hedges were all dead,

When frost lay on the garden bed—

At Hampstead—and other places.

I’ve seen the look on women’s faces—

Women who are past child-bearing age,

Proud, and still beautiful, and kind,

Because they kept beauty in their mind—

I have seen women look placidly and calm

On gardens bursting, as the highest balm—

And when they stood with lovely jewels on

Beside friends, their smiles as cold as the moon,

Coldly beautiful, since they knew in frozen beds

They would be lying down soon,

The flowers gray, no more the passionate purples and reds!

I wished I had loved them. Never

Could I—no, never—this much beauty had known

As with you! Remember our sweet moan?

When we loved in nature’s yellow-lighted chapel?

How much can I tell—

If I auspiciously regret what we all regret: beauty lost forever?

Is this a frozen bed?

Its flowers with flowers that once sighed, dead?

So we read modernist verses instead.

Because we would rather forget

The flower—and our enormous debt?




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