In Defense of the Aesthetic Sense

When lovely melodies arouse and wake
My dormant bliss, or true words do the same,
Dark, dour-visaged men intrude to claim
My bliss is false, awakened by mistake.

To those who fear sweet strains might make us deaf
Or landscapes pierce our eyes until we’re blind,
I say, “The sense of beauty lives in mind,
Not on the staves beside the treble clef.”

What’s more, beyond the mind, well past the throat
That chants its tune, mellifluous in tone,
Another Entity sits on His throne:
The only Source of ear and mind and note.

When wise men—as they’re called—can vainly preach
That we may loathe this world, and even should,
Although the Lord Himself declared it Good
What can I do but find them in the breach?

Their hate of beauty strikes me as unkind
To Him, who made five senses and mind’s sense,
And hate is such a piffling, weak defense
When sound and bliss seem purposely aligned.

Let’s seek to beautify our streets and souls,
Let’s see and see through harp and pipe and drum,
Recalling where they trace their Origin from,
And love both painted elms and elm tree boles.

And when each of our senses has been tried,
And when we know the sense of bliss inside,
Our mind’s fine sense will be so rarified
That we’ll acknowledge Heaven when we’ve died.


Today the World Gave Me News

Today the world gave me news
That giving gives without demand,
Though hearts may beckon and command,
Love heeds no expectation.

When souls of men are bruised and bent,
When beards are grown and clothes are rent,
Within the depths of discontentment,
And pure perturbation,

An ancient stillness, hidden and unknown
Resides, much as a ball of yarn unwinds,
And though its form unravels
Its basic strand comes known.

I sat alone, in crushing self-defeat
Too empty and too tired to want,
When like a raindrop, mercy fell on me,
Unlikely as a midnight dawn to me;

And long I marveled, open mouthed,
Although it was no mystery;
My brain (by pain) had been distilled
Like sour grapes make sparkling wines,
I lost, and sought not to be filled,
And my emptiness became divine.

For Love loves those who lack desire
And gives to those in time She deigns
Humble silence is what She admires,
Both in highest pleasures and in numbing pains.


Gil Hackel began writing poetry at age 8, and along with several classmates was included in the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans for three years running.  His university education spans two continents: as an undergraduate student in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, and as an MA student at Bar Ilan University in Israel.  He currently resides in Tel Aviv and plans to begin doctoral studies in Literature this fall.  This is his first publication since grade school. 

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2 Responses

  1. james sale

    I really like these poems: the discursive and philosophical nature is extremely well handled in a verse form that could easily descend to bathos, but doesn’t; this is extremely promising poetry.


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