Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Beauty, by Don Robertson

Beauty (1963)
by Don Robertson, from "Ripples in Time"

Beauty...large and curious thing...

A waterfall, a winding stream,
A silver trout, a mountain scene,
The full and glorious pines,
Their majestic green.

The setting sun,
Its golden rays paint the silvery ocean.
The foaming surf
Laps against the sparkling sands.
A distant ship
Moves slowly across the horizon;
Its tail of soot-blackened smoke
Trailing behind.

Deserts lost,
The heated sand, the xerophily –
Dry and forlorn.
Hardy cactus flowers
Paint the land.

Magnificent cities,
Ever-climbing glass facades, and
Sooty stone walls...
A backdrop of smoking chimneys
And a hazy sky...
The web of the city’s moving populace…
Its never-ceasing chaos.

Rural pastures,
Horses with silken manes,
Cows grazing in soft fields,
The dry-eyed farmer lifting buckets of feed,
An early morning symphony of poultry sounds.

The shipyard
And its beauty of squalor, of filth, of stench,
Of rust, of industry, of smoke and grime...
Great gray ships,
The acrid smell of copra,
The sound and flash of welding,
Of burning, and of riveting...

The faded beauty
Of an abandoned steam locomotive
Resting on forgotten tracks.
Its boiler cold,
Its sides rusting...
A great titanic force
Now rusted, cold, and tired.

Deep inside the industrial jungle,
Pieces of old iron, of old furnaces,
Rail, barrels, beams,
Parts from old abandoned things,
Old and rusted,
Caked with dirt
And flaked paint.

Old books,
Their pages faded and yellowed
With bindings worn and torn,
Filled with words alive and fresh,
And immortal,
And forlorn.

Old stamps, old coins,
So simple, so common,
Yet so beautiful and pleasing to the eye.
Idle bric-à-brac,
Scraps of paper…
Little common things.

Or a job well done,
When you stand back
And look, and say:
“I did it, and it is beautiful!”
Yet it is perhaps only
A carefully set table,
A polished car,
A new dress,
A manuscript of music
      With notes, and lines, and staves,
A page of writing
      With its periods, sentences, and words.

Steaming-hot plates of homemade rolls,
Broccoli covered with hollandaise,
A bowl filled with crabmeat claws
On an opulent table
Covered with lobsters and éclairs,
Great green artichokes,
Polished plates of hors d’oeuvres,
And chateaubriand grilled to perfection
Steaming on a silver platter...

A young woman,
Her perfect body,
Her innocent smile,
Her soft silken skin,
Her radiant hair blown by summer breezes,
Her dancing eyes,
Her warm slender legs,
Her soft firm breasts...

The skier on a mountain trail
Of shimmering snow
Glittering in the bright sunlight.
The diver in mid-air...
A form geometrically poised.
The ballerina...
Her soft lithe body
Folding into music.

A hard industrial beauty.
The coal smell of a laboring donkey engine,
The harsh odor of sugar beats,
Or the tough smell of molten steel,
And the bitter scent of sweaty bodies.
The tireless onward pressing of machines
Working throughout the cold moonlit night.

Yes, at night,
The clean cool breeze,
The sounds from far away,
A distant whistle
From a forlorn train
Departing from the city.
A distant bell
And laughter
Call to you.

Then early morning arrives.
Faint music still ringing in your ears.
Your eyes fresh from the other world,
You fumble for the steaming pot of coffee.
Unwelcome darkness plods
Through the kitchen window,
As the morning crows
Begin to chatter,
Tempered by a blanket
Of soft hungry birdsong.

Then the kitchen presents to you
Its china stacked on wooden shelves,
The shinning white stove,
The polished wooden floor,
The tidy rows of preserves
Put up for the winter’s cold.


An empty room,
A railroad coach,
A clean body
Perfumed and soft.

The strains of beautiful music
Touch your hungry ears.
The words speak softly in the moonlight
And bring your eyes to tears.

The hearty laugh,
The distant cry,
The flowers that unfold,
     Beneath the morning sky...

Look around you, all around you,
And you will see...

The swaying breeze-blown wheat,
The radiant snow,
The fragrant garden,
The dew-covered sands,
The dusty road,
The oil-soaked railroad yard,
The rocky mountainsides,
The majestic plains,
The blue waters,
The cool mountain lakes,
The darkened forests,
The heated deserts...

From the silent windmill on a country farm
To the squalid buildings in the city,
From the rusted locomotive in a railroad yard
To a fragrant rose in a millionaire’s garden,

      Beauty unfolds,
      Beauty unfolds,

"Ripples in Time" Available at

© 2014 by Don Robertson

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