The Wonder of Light

I’m trying, once again, to work poetry into my life. I’m not writing it. My penchant for that seems to come and go. No, what I’m striving for is reading it—every day. At the moment, I’m focusing on the work of Allen Tate, a Southern author who lived from 1899 to 1979. Today I enjoyed this:

Sonnet to Beauty

The wonder of light is your familiar tale,
Pert wench, down to the nineteenth century:
Mr. Rimbaud the Frenchman’s apostasy
Asserts the argument that you are stale,
Flat and unprofitable, importunate but pale,
Lithe corpse! His defect of philosophy
Impugned, but could not strip your entity
Of light. Broken, our twilit visions fail.

Beauty, the doctrine of the incorporate Word
Conceives your fame; how else should you subsist?
The present age, beak southward, flies like a bird—
For often at Church I’ve seen the stained high glass
Pour out the Virgin and Saints, twist and untwist
The mortal youth of Christ astride an ass.


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