Beauty Stood There Listening to the World
Illustrated by Etia van Hell
The following poem was written using a deck of 100 words. The goal was to choose different words from the deck and, laying the words together on a desk, to experiment with different combinations of words, trying out one combination, then another, looking more for evocative pairings than for any particular kind of sense or meaning—although sense and meaning often emerged. This kind of poem offers a different way of exploring what language can conjure in our imaginations. We often begin with what we want to say and look for the words to say it, but what if we begin with the words themselves and explore the possibilities of what they can say, what unexpected worlds they can evoke? The words chosen from my deck are italicized in each line.
Beauty stood there listening to the world.
Biting down the sky with her sharp white teeth,
The waves showing her the blue mystery.
When she spoke, she smelled of soap.
She stood like an anchor, the taste of cinnamon on her lips.
She could feel the music on her hands,
The grass when her feet longed for it.
Taking a seat, she brought the pumpkin ice cream to her mouth.
The rain started to fall, hitting her skin clumsily.
These water drops rested on the adorable red apples--
her lips, a chair, a seat for the rain.