We have all heard it said, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Since in this premise, I am the beholder allow me, my fair friends (and I can only presume you shall be fair) to unveil to you what I perceive as beauty.
Having been spared in my youth the advertised notions of beauty – those base ideas which deal primarily with physical features and have left generations of young women and men aspiring impossible goals – I had developed a curious idea of my own of what beauty is and especially where I see it.
I do not find people beautiful – a nice looking man is not necessarily a good man, nor is an acceptably attractive woman worth more than her substance. We are a gangly, strange accumulation of limbs, hair and skin – when we are perfectly honest, we are not exactly well made. Some of us tolerate cold better than heat, others are able to stand in the sun longer than others; though we can adapt to our surroundings, yet unlike our primate cousins, I would like to see any of us living in trees and eating leaves with any degree of success. We are tolerable hunters and moderately able gatherers, yet it takes a combination of both hunting and gathering to provide us with the sustenance we require. In other words, humans are not ideal creations. We appear to be the best design of an haphazard idea. Physically, I do not find the human form beautiful, neither my own or anyone else’s – in truth, no matter how much the media attempts to change my mind, I fear I am set in my ways on this point.
Yet beauty does exist.
I find it in words. Reflect for a moment upon these.
Remember, to meet at our eternity
where our soul awaits to meet again.
A deal with chaos to remind us
of a time with no pain:
Where, you and I, flicker through
as the sky departures with hope and
Here we flow with our inner tide
where I kept my memory lane:
Slowly I fall asleep on your shoulders
as I close my eyes for you to obtain.
"A slow meadow under my lullaby
arise with my stars in my vein."
Here I have confessed the untold
for I bleed in honour and vain:
Keep your hand in mine
as I trust to believe in your reign.
-"Opus" - Jojo Al-Waealy
I profess, I do not know exactly what the poet of those delightful words is trying to convey and it would arrogant of me to say I understand him. For that would imply I understand his mind and that, I do not. Yet his words convey to me, wholeness of thought. They flow through my mind seamlessly, like an endless wave of sparkling ideas. I see beauty.
This is where the beauty of humanity should live – our minds, our senses, our thoughts. How we can all read the same words and yet all perceive something different. Our uniqueness is not limited to our physical selves. It is our souls – the fragile substance of our beings which we take so for granted, the part which no one can hold and yet everyone can see. That is where our true beauty comes from and conversely, our ugliness. A beautiful woman can have an ugly soul, a handsome man can be capable of unspeakable evil. We put too much store in what can see and ignore the sum and substance of what it is to actually be human.
Through words and pictures we can see a world past our own small corner – into a time long gone or a future not yet come to pass. Travel through the minds of men and breath in their version of humanity, circle the earth in search of fantastical beasts, cry with abandon and laugh with unrestricted joy. That does not come from a physical beauty alone. It takes a beautiful mind.
It is something, which I believe, we all possess yet we do not try hard enough to cultivate it. Instead we distract ourselves with what we want to be instead of realising that everything we want to be, is in fact, inside us already. Yet we allow ourselves to dive to the depths of depravity searching for the impossible, we contaminate our minds with the useless and futile. We sacrifice our souls to the flavour of the day. We cause ourselves immeasurable pain and from some of these experiences, there is no coming back. We lose ourselves and everything that made our minds beautiful in the first place. We scoff at the idea of our body being a temple until we realise how hard it is to fix it when it is broken.
Nor do I have much faith in that meddlesome beast humanity, as a whole. I shall allow ee cummings to sum it up for me.
'pity this busy monster, manunkind'
pity this busy monster, manunkind,
not. Progress is a comfortable disease:
your victim (death and life safely beyond)
plays with the bigness of his littleness
--- electrons deify one razorblade
into a mountainrange; lenses extend
unwish through curving wherewhen till unwish
returns on its unself.
A world of made
is not a world of born --- pity poor flesh
and trees, poor stars and stones, but never this
fine specimen of hypermagical
ultraomnipotence. We doctors know
a hopeless case if --- listen: there's a hell
of a good universe next door; let's go
E. E. Cummings
A beautiful soul is what we should strive for, reject all shabby imitations.
We live in a beautiful, albeit imperfect world. Yet there is joy all around us even in the smallest creatures there is glory. When we look up out of ourselves we begin to see just how much we have to be grateful for.
Beauty is not in a face.
Beauty is in your soul.
And it is all around us and above all it, is within you – let it shine in light. Be beautiful today.
It was not beauty's short control,
It was the sweetness of thy soul
Which shed a more enduring grace;
Not o'er thy eyes, nor thy face,
But round the whole, but round the whole.
- "To Annie" - Mary Carshore
With his kind permission:
“Opus” – Jojo Al-Waealy, https://jojoalwaealy.com/
“Songs of the East” by Mrs. W.S.(Mary) Carshore, 1871 – https://archive.org/details/dli.ministry.22977/page/55/mode/2up
ee cummings, https://web.cs.dal.ca/~johnston/poetry/pitmonster.html
And thank you to the patient bee who quietly went about his business while I frantically took his picture.