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How Is Beauty Put Into A Poem?

  The poem-maker, who lives in the heart, joyfully labors as a gardener of beauty. The idea of a heart-poem unfolds as naturally as the rose. Because we have experienced the magnificent beauty of the mature rose, we appreciate the bud as the nursery of anticipated perfection. In that tight bud we see a future of color, fragrance, texture and form. We see what could be. We examine what exists and blend it with personal experience. The bud becomes the kernel of courage. It becomes the match which lights the lamp of knowledge. It becomes the microcosm of the infinite beauty which exists throughout the universe.

Like a poem, the rose bud has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning of the bud is sealed in its protective interlocking green sepals. We recognize it as a bud because of its shape. But no color or fragrance of rose emanates from it. It is the same with a poem. We see a form. Usually it has a title followed by stanzas, some of which could be compact like squares and rectangles, or rangy and sometimes shapeless. But generally a poem can be recognized from a distance because of its form, even though the words may not be readable from that distance.

It would seem that countless essays could be written on how to put beauty into a poem. Yet how many poems leave the reader with the thought, "My God, that's beautiful."? This would suggest to me, (a long time reader of poetry), that the many theories which may be generated on how to put beauty into a poem are specious -- that is, they sound correct but are not.

The gap is wide between theory and practice on how to put beauty into a poem. Perhaps the best demonstration would be a very beautiful poem about how to put beauty into a poem. This, at least, would let the reader know that the writer's theory can be put into practice.

People will cry out, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.", and, of course, they will be correct. Yet there are not that many poems that the beholders can say are truly beautiful. It is the same with the other arts. There are many paintings, sculptures, plays, and symphonies which the beholder doesn't sigh, "Yes, that is truly beautiful!"

This would seem to suggest that beauty in art is rare. Perhaps it is more of an ideal than what exists, and what has existed. What then constitutes beauty in a poem, and how is it put there?

Some of us may point to the mechanics of poetry, such as meter and rhyme. Others may point to imagery and the power of the metaphor. Still others may point to content. Personally, I feel that beauty in a poem originates with the poem-maker's attunement, (consciously, or unconsciously), with The Source Of All Beauty And All Life and It's Hierarchy Of Light. Just as humanity's salvation lies in its student teacher relationship with The Hierarchy Of Light, so too the salvation of poetry -- beauty in a poem, lies in the poem-maker's attunement with the Higher. As it is said that Mozart's music was from God, so a poem's beauty comes from attunement with beauty itself, and is thus a pleasant echo of The Divine.

"Well", some would say, "All that sounds ok, but how about all the poem-makers who were religious and went to church regularly, yet the beholder doesn't say of their poems, "How beautiful!" A fair question don't you think? One answer could be that the beauty was there but that the beholder didn't see it as he, or she, "looked through their glass darkly." Of course, that wouldn't be very complimentary to the beholder, (even if it were true). Certainly it couldn't be true if not even one beholder could get even a faint glimpse of beauty from the poem in question. Perhaps we should look at the degree of attunement of the poem-maker as well as the degree of attunement with beauty of the beholder.

It is reasonable to think that there are degrees of attunement with The Source Of All Beauty, just as there are degrees of skill in writing, art, or any of the crafts. A person could go to church every day yet not be a saint. A person could be a carpenter for years, yet not have the skill of a master craftsman. This goes as well for the reader of the poem as for the poem-maker.

Yes, beauty could be in the poem and the reader does not sense it, or more than likely beauty is not in the poem and the reader knows it is not there. Why include such a high confidence in the reader - the beholder of the poem? Simply because the beholder is usually much more experienced in beholding beauty than the poem-maker is at attuning with The Source Of All Beauty. Now that doesn't sound very complimentary to poem makers, does it! But this is not a discourse on being complimentary to poem-makers. It is an exploration of the question, How is beauty put into a poem?

Before this sounds like some one has an axe to grind about poem-makers, let me say that this author has and does spend many hours engaged in the art of poem-making. There is no attack here on poem-makers, only a search for the way beauty gets into a poem. I can only share the results of my research up to this point.

Thus it is my understanding that a beautiful poem is a co-measured poem. One aspect of a co-measured poem is simplicity in its imagery in order to share a glimpse of life, or an idea that is not otherwise easily understood. Thus a beautiful poem is very easy to understand because of the universal imagery in its metaphors. Not everyone has personally seen a deer in the woods, but just about all who are not blind have looked up, at least once, into the night sky and experienced the stars.

The poem-maker who is attuned to a high degree with The Source Of All Beauty and All Life will only use images that are universal in the subconscious of the poem-reader. Thus the poem reader instinctively knows that the poem-maker had the best interest of the poem-reader in mind when creating the poem. Thus a bridge of familiarity of imagery becomes a bridge of friendship between the poem-maker and the poem-reader.

The egotistical debater may but in here and say, "Well, that sounds all fine and good, but what if the poem-maker is making things simple only to "talk down" to the reader. Maybe the poem-maker thinks that he, or she, is better than everyone else!"

This is more of a common complaint than we might at first suspect; however, a little thought here will clear away the fog. Usually when a person is trying to talk down to someone they try to speak in terms over the other person's head, or go into the infinite detail of a doctrinaire trip. It could also take the form of over simplifying with a "Boy are you dumb attitude." If it were true that a poem-maker was foolish enough to spend all the many hours, days, and yes weeks, creating a poem only to talk down to the reader, then the poems which this egoist created would most probably not fall into the category of beautiful. Most poem-readers intuitively understand the difference between rampart egoism and beauty. Take a second to ask yourself if the contents of being "talked down" to was ever beautiful? Most likely the response to being talked down to would overwhelm any beauty contained in the message. Yes, the simplicity of universal imagery may just be a vital component of beauty in a poem, for it is a universal signal that the poem-maker is serious about taking to the poem-reader into consideration in order to share a special glimpse of life.

The key word here which illumines the choice of the simplicity of universal imagery is share. The poem-maker who comes from the heart is sharing. How skilled the poem-maker is at sharing through the poem-making tools available, will determine to what degree we sigh, "What beauty!"

In the Agni Yoga Teachings we read that "Beauty is rationality". [ ] Webster's dictionary describes rationality as:
1a. Having reason or understanding.
1b. Relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason.
2. The quality or state of being agreeable to reason -- reasonableness.
3. A rational opinion, belief, of practice.

Thus beauty is put into a poem,(through the rational view of beauty), when the contents would exhibit reason or understanding -- a reasonable understanding woven into the contents of a poem by the poem-maker. Now if we have a poem-maker who is attuned with the Source of All Beauty through The Hierarchy Of Light, who operates from the heart center, who writes in the immaculate simplicity of universal images, and who weaves into the poem's metaphors a reasonably sound understanding of life, will this then constitute how beauty is put into a poem? Well, more than a great many of us would say this is a real good place to start.

If we add to these qualities a keenness of observation or discernment, we will have a fresh look at nature and man and their countless interactions. Higher degrees of discernment will produce deeper insights into human nature. To the traveller on The Path Of Beauty, which is the Path Of The Heart, this comment on discernment will come as no surprise, for discernment is a heart center activity. Thus if the poem-maker operates from the heart center then discernment is already one of the tools used to put beauty into a poem. Yet our effort is not wasted, because it is beneficial to remind ourselves about discernment and its source - the heart.

The following are attempts at poem-making on How beauty is put into a poem.

How Is Beauty Put Into A Poem?

What is its source? Should we dissect
each line by force? Who could inspect
such seed for roots? Who can research
flowers by shoots -- or bird by perch?
Beauty's face has many forms.
Beauty's pace calms inner storms.
From God through heart, it lights each part.

Heart Rise

Into the sunrise of my heart the Source Of All Beauty breathes the color of dawn. My prayer of achievement fills the morning like bird songs. The fragrance of rose flows through my poem. Thoughts unfold like bright petals sparkling with dew. Like the waterfall fills the forest pool, beauty fills my spirit with joy.   

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