"I am half sick of shadows" said the Lady of Shalott (John William Waterhouse)‘Beauty Is a Verb’ by Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi The Society November 24, 2018 Beauty, Poetry 20 Comments Not how we’re seen but what we do determines beauty’s stride, for seeds of virtue catered to are planted deep inside. Not what we see but how perceived in nature’s many sides determines how the world’s received as force of will collides. Not when we do but why we strive to bring all things allied, for beauty is a word alive, the quest for truth applied. Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she writes poetry, prose and articles; specializes in literary criticism and non-profit matters. She has a B.A. in English, Spanish, and an M.A. in Spanish from Saint Louis University in Madrid and St. Louis. Since brain surgery, she volunteer teaches creative writing in a maximum security jail and works for civil rights attorneys. She completed a novel in verse, Poem to Follow, and is featured in several poetry anthologies, including the Missouri VSA 2013 Anthology, Turning the Clocks Forward Again; Poetica Victorian; Red Dashboard Disorder Anthology: Mental Illness and Its Effects; The Muse India/Createspace Anthology Of Present Day Best Poems; Bordertown Press Poetry of People on the Move; and Literature Today International Journal of Contemporary Literature. Shari’s poetry has appeared in several literary magazines in the U.S., Canada, England, India, Ireland and Spain. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) 20 Responses James Sale November 24, 2018 Beauty is a favourite topic of mine and this is very beautiful – thank you, Shari Jo – really enjoyed reading this poem. Reply Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi November 26, 2018 Thank you very much, James Sale. I am a fond admirer of all of your fine work, and I appreciate your comments! Best wishes. Shari Reply James A. Tweedie November 24, 2018 Shari Jo, Your poem is well-written. My comment, however, concerns its content. Your closing words, for beauty is a word alive, the quest for truth applied. could well form the thesis for a PhD in philosophy. Indeed, it may succinctly and profoundly express the foundational principle for the Arts in general and the SCP in particular. It is sad to see how truth and beauty are now relegated to (and celebrated in) what was in previous generations considered to be decadent, degenerate and the mundane (e.g. “Piss Christ”). I once showed a series of pictures of various things, including garbage dumps, the Cathedral of Chartres, power lines, dead animals, the Pieta, etc. to a group of college students and asked them to identify the images they found to be beautiful. At first they did not understand the question. After I gave them an objective definition of the word “beauty” they asked to see the pictures a second time. ALL of them offered the same response: “I would say that every picture is beautiful in some way; it would depend on who was looking at it and what they saw in it.” Bach or Burt Bacharach? Rembrandt or rusty nails? All equally beautiful. Apparently Ray Stevens is the philosopher of our age: “Everything is beautiful . . . in its own way.” If everything is beautiful then nothing is beautiful. If everything is true then nothing is true. Such is the world we live in these days. Your poem aims for something higher. Thank you for inspiring us to aim for it, too. Reply S.K. Downes November 24, 2018 James – what a profound comment. It certainly provoked some personal reflection. Reply Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi November 26, 2018 Dear James A. Tweedie, Thank you for your comments and brilliant discussion on truth and beauty: a topic of great interest that continues to evolve in theory and philosophical interpretation. Allow me to share an article from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that defines the (Western) history of Beauty as both subjective and objective qualities, and the philosophical conceptions of beauty (Classical, Idealist, Love and Longing, Hedonist, and Use and Uselessness): https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/beauty/ Couple this with the Transcendentalist (historical) pursuit for truth through the sciences, arts and religion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendentals There is no easy answer here other than to remain true to the pursuit of the beauty in truth and the truth in beauty, whatever that means in any space, place and time. Reply Steven Shaffer November 24, 2018 Hi Sheri Jo — I like your poem and the concept. One item I will point out, which might just be me, but when I read the last stanza, I was thrown off by the half-rhyme/alliteration “allied” and “alive” and thought you had changed the rhyme scheme. When I looked closer, I see that was not your intent, but it threw off my first reading. James: Re: “If everything is beautiful then nothing is beautiful. If everything is true then nothing is true.” What you say is true ( 🙂 ) and important. So, you have spurred me to comment on this. My philosophical hero is Ludwig Wittgenstein; in a bizarre twist of fate, Wittgenstein became the poster child for weak minded and poorly read post modernists. I’ve queried many of these folks, and although they all quote Wittgenstein, almost none of them have actually /read/ Wittgenstein. So, I offer to you the following quote: “Hegel seems to me to be always wanting to say that things which look different are really the same. Whereas my interest is in showing that things which look the same are really different. I was thinking of using as a motto for my book a quotation from King Lear: ‘I’ll teach you differences’. ― Ludwig Wittgenstein Reply Carole Mertz November 24, 2018 I enjoyed this discussion of same, different; beauty and no beauty. I hope it continues. Ms. Shari Jo, you gave me much to consider by offering your beautiful poem. Thank you Reply Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi November 26, 2018 Dear Carole Mertz, Thank you so much, you are very kind. Shari Reply David Hollywood November 24, 2018 A very enjoyable poem, and thank you. Reply Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi November 26, 2018 Thank you very kindly, David Hollywood! Best wishes, Shari Reply David Paul Behrens November 24, 2018 An interesting theme and well written. Thank you. Reply Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi November 26, 2018 Thank you so much, David Paul Behrens! Shari Reply Joan November 24, 2018 Inspiring poem reminding that Truth is the only Beauty. Reply Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi November 26, 2018 Dear Joan, I agree with you entirely! Shari Reply Mark Stone November 24, 2018 Shari, Hello. 1. If we strip down the sentence that is the second stanza (S2) to just subject and verb, we have: Not what we see but how perceived… determines… The phrase “how perceived” as a subject strikes me as a little awkward. Here is an alternative: Not what we see, but what’s perceived… determines… 2. It seems to me that the sentence that is S3L1&2 should have a verb in it or following it. S1 and S2 have the verb “determines.” I know that not every line in a poem needs to have a verb, but this is how it strikes me. 3. In S3L2, something in me wants to change “allied” to “aligned.” My Webster’s New World College Dictionary says that “ally” means “to unite or associate for a specific purpose” and that “align” means “to bring into proper coordination.” S3 works as is, but I wonder if “align” might be a slightly better fit. If you wanted to experiment, here are two ideas: Not when we do, but why we strive to make all things aligned, for beauty is a word alive, the quest for truth defined. Not when we do, but why we strive to make all things align, for beauty is a word alive, the quest for truth divine. Just a thought. 4. I like the consonance in lines 8, 9 & 10, i.e., the series of L’s and W’s. 5. I am very fond of the ballad form of the poem, i.e., the alternating 8- & 6-syllable lines. It reminds me of “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, a poem I read in my youth. 6. I enjoyed the poem and appreciate its message. Thank you for sharing it with us. Reply Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi November 26, 2018 Dear Mark Stone, Thank you for your comments. Reply The Chained Muse November 26, 2018 Dear Shari, There’s definitely some originality here. Nice way to take up a universal theme and do something quite original with it! As a suggestion, it seems like “how perceived” sounds a bit forced: Not what we see but how perceived in nature’s many sides The line looks more contrived, because now the reader’s attention is directed to the fact that you’re trying to stay within the meter and rhyme scheme and that’s why you wrote something like “but how perceived.” “Not what we see, but what’s conceived In nature’s many strides […] Perhaps? I thought it was worth pointing that out because it’s definitely an original poem. I’d be interested to see what other stuff you have. Feel free to submit something to thechainedmuse.com. Reply Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi November 26, 2018 Dear Chained Muse, Thank you for your comments. Perception is critical to the entire line, versus conception which gives it an entirely different meaning. Reply Erisbawdle Cue November 26, 2018 As Mr. Stone has correctly pointed out, Ms. LeKane-Yentumi has used the ballad form for her abstract brief. Though I could be wrong, I imagine it is her use of abstractions that led Mr. Shaffer to thoughts of Wittgenstein. One of the more obvious and simpler places here @ SCP where I use Wittgenstein, is in the frequent ordering and numbering of my comments; but Wittgenstein’s life is itself a study in philosophic excellence, even when it is frustrating, con-fusing, or breathtaking in its span. What Mr. Shaffer’s own comment triggered in my mind was an unpublished bilding of my younger years of many decades ago. Für Ludwig by Erisbawdle Cue. Struggling with his mind in far away Britain, far away, at least, then, from crumbling Austria and all that was crumbling with it: music, vision, the cosmopolitan culture of Vienna, the dark rotting molds of the nineteenth century, the heights of medicine, and the perennial abuses of government by the monarchy; yes, far from all that, pounding the chords of his mind out an into a philosophic symphony, hammering something out of the milky-thick brine of his brain, clamoring with a constant rhythm, as though he was on to something big—Wittgenstein! Reply Shari Jo LeKane-Yentumi November 27, 2018 Dear Erisbawdle Cue, Thank you for sharing your enlightening musings on Fur Ludwig. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.