The Use of Beauty

The Use of Beauty
by Ron Yazinski
Tonight, fireflies peek from behind the curtain of the woods,
Then one at a time, enter and pirouette in the field,
Until suddenly, there’s a flashing right before my eyes.
On the pool deck, the railing is damp.
All around wild roses spill their honey scent so thick,
I can almost lick it off the humid air.
Or maybe I’m just remembering it from my walk this morning,
Along with the blooming mountain laurel,
Switched on to brighten the forest gloom.
This is what I’ve taken from today.
I remember something Jared Diamond wrote,
About how hunter-gatherers are smarter than us because they have to be.
They know a jungle of words for foods that are edible
And many more for those that presently aren’t.
Every morning, out among the ferns and the flowers,
Are the tests of who had paid attention
When grandma pointed out an edible root or a poisonous leaf.
They know death by the mouthful,
That beauty has a purpose.
Those that are aesthetes return at night and make love,
Because they are worthy of it.
Whereas, today I gathered the scents of roses,
The sheen of flowers,
And the choreography of fireflies.
All things neither you nor I can eat.
And though I think they keep me alive,
You’ve already gone to bed.

0 thoughts on “The Use of Beauty

  1. Beautiful plain-spoken description of natural phenomena enhancing one’s senses, which turns unexpectedly against itself. The seventh stanza sets up the irony of the last. The purposeful hunter-gatherers are “worthy of” making love. Here the captivated aesthete returns to bed too late, experiencing the sensations “I think…keep me alive” alone. The poem makes us wonder what use beauty actually has. What would Keats say to this?

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