Beauty, when you know it well,
puts its horns and halo aside.
It doesn’t care much for heaven or hell.
Beauty would rather walk than ride,
would rather be a scent than a magic spell.
Beauty is content to reside
inside, like the clapper of a bell.

And beauty is beside us all our lives.
It doesn’t need the lights on, knows
its way around the house,
doesn’t flinch at kitchen knives,
is amiable with teacups and sparrows,
waters dandelions, feeds cheese to the mouse,
but beauty always leaves when guests arrive.

Beauty, when it applies,
is not admitted to the union,
but when it is forced to join,
beauty dies.
Beauty lasts longest in the dark, like onions,
and like cut onions, before you realize
what’s happened, beauty is in your eyes.

(kz 1988)

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