I am afraid of Beauty.
Saw this in myself tonight.
The long legs tight in black
with the slim tall torso in loose cotton white
where my eyes did not stop but found instead
the sides of her face cradled by easy flowing black hair
falling like a spring rain and framing not one
but two beautiful eyes of coal filled with a light
that happened to open into my own
seeing deep into a human soul.
Time stopped for a moment of recognition
and then I ran—quick as I could look away and
she moved on past me down the row of empty folding chairs
five away from me and sat in a place of her own.
Then we each caught the other looking yet again
to see more of who we had seen—
as if daylight might reveal
something more ordinary
and again I turned my eyes,
in flight finding the solace
of one not wanting to intrude,
be impolite, perhaps be caught
again in my lust for the beautiful feminine
having previously burned myself and her too
maybe a few hundred times.
So here, tonight, yes
sitting naked in front of the
realization that I am afraid of beauty
and drawn, inexplicably, to look yet again
by the grace of a hunger
into the mirror.
What was so fascinating to me, as I caught myself experiencing what I recognized within as a ‘fear of beauty,’ was the myriad of ways in which I saw this playing out through my life. The fear of connecting with people (not just beautiful women), a fear of joy… a fear of living fully… and a fear of death too. For surely in death there is beauty as well.
Without it, after all, there would not be the beauty to be found in birth. And I write this as my own father lies on is death bed, so the intimacy of fear and beauty are close. We all have but one father to offer to the mystery even as we have but one life of our own to offer as well.
Surly in this offering is our own re-wilding, and our own redemption.
“In ourselves the universe is revealed to itself as we are revealed in the universe.” — Thomas Berry, The Great Work, pg. 32
Note, I suspect a case can be made that it was/is a fear of the wild fierce beauty of the natural world that drives man to destroy it. So it is that this masculine fear of the feminine plays itself out in large and ‘small’ ways.