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XXXI

ICE SCULPTURES
Boucher's Diana Leaving Her Bath
Beauty came
billowing before all eyes

& danced a saraband
Sculptured Ice

When! suddenly seared
it disappeared

in consummate Grace
leaving no vestiges or trace

All tried pursuing it
but failed

Then only Emptiness
prevailed

(for) mankind can't follow
the trail it lacks

and Beauty is too hollow
to leave tracks34

Renoir's Dancer

^{34} It is intolerable to have one man think the yard is shorter than the inch; but we can live with most anybody thinking an avocado-sized nose is a beautiful appendage... albeit there are fools who'll waste everybody's time arguing for hours that it is not so! Beauty is no intrinsic property, of course (like color, size, shape, etc.). Oh, color, size and shape may all be relative (and subjective ideas), but they still describe qualities that we all agree cannot be individually imposed but must be accepted by most (even if not all), however we may quibble over the justice or injustice of democracy v.s. totalitarianism. But, Beauty can have validity in every man, despite everyone else in the world (how we cherish the power of that personal freedom to be wrong! We deem it the greatest compliment of all, and is it any wonder?). In the judgment of Beauty any lad is superior to the gods (the Judgment of Paris); and vastly superior to the judgment of even the rest of mankind (for who would think THAT beautiful, except its mother)? This poem expands upon the previous work: beauty is the (positive) philosophy that something (anything) is worth dying for. The poem emphasizes the fragile/ephemeral nature of this treasure. In this sense "we" is the metaphor for "death" (life as we unquestionably personify it); and Beauty is what we get out of living. "Emptiness" if we "pursue" it beyond life, naturally. "Sculptured ice" as perhaps one of the most ephemeral forms of art (and Beauty): A flower is Nature's most fleeting (delicate) art (again) [not Man's]. The "it" [last stanza] is marvelously ambiguous: I love it.

[XXXII:XXXVII] For me, desperation equals my inability to know which of the demanding and most often mutually-excluding choices is the right one. Works XXXII and XXXVII deal with similar themes: Discerning the right decision (the second poem despairs at ever being able to arrive at the right decision --knowing it is the right decision even before the results are examined). Of course, a statement without at least a subjectively proposed implication (that is, either real or imagined) leaves a bad taste in our sense of purpose: These poems are related (XXXII's last two lines are a suggested answer: That reasonable claim of so many other previous writers, that "it is not necessary to be right all the time --only enough times (and the test is survival)." It is essential to be right only enough to survive --otherwise: extinction! (from where there is no reprieve)[email protected]

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