friday feast: in search of beauty

photo by Lisa at TSS.

by Sara Teasdale

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up,
Holding wonder like a cup.
Life has loveliness to sell
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.


This classic poem is just what I needed today.

I want to focus on beauty, and believe it still exists in the world. Not just in nature, but in the actions of human beings.

I’ve been seeing a lot of ugliness lately. A false sense of entitlement, a lack of civility, disrespect for the office of the presidency. Ignorance and misinformation perpetrated by talk show hosts. Mad dogs, frothing at the mouth. Centuries of hate, bubbling to the surface. People protesting one thing, but ultimately angry because of something else. If they are so concerned about lies and out of control spending, why did they remain silent while billions of dollars was spent on a war based on a lie? Where were their protests then?

Lies are ugly. Racism is ugly. For the life of me, I’ll never be able to understand why some can’t stand the thought of a black man in the White House, and even worse, why they can’t, or won’t, even admit to themselves what is really fueling their vitriol.

There is beauty in the innocent heart of a child. There is beauty in a child’s natural acceptance of others before prejudices are taught. Before we can erradicate ugliness, we have to look at it out in the open, recognize it for what it is. It’s a trade, like the poem says. There’ll always be a price to pay for beauty, for peace, for tolerance. As we try our best to endure these growing pains, I want to remind myself of the possible reward. Maybe someday, when a child looks up in wonder, he/she will see only love, a color blind love. Now that would be beautiful.

photo by jabassen da Photo Freak.

photo by carf.

photo by Lisa at TSS.

photo by Scott Stanfield.

photo by Pete Shacky.

     photo by patiencerandle.

Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup is at Becky’s Book Reviews.

Copyright © 2009 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup.

36 thoughts on “friday feast: in search of beauty

  1. photo

    These photos are all amazing in their ability to capture the inner light and beauty of children. I especially enjoyed Lisa at TSS and went to her flickr site. WOW. Thanks, Jama!


  2. All those beautiful children, full of wonder…. *contented sigh* Thanks for sharing.

    There is beauty in a child’s natural acceptance of others before prejudices are taught.

    I noticed this yesterday. Up until now, my daughters’ peers have never had any quibble about me being MiniPlu’s and Two’s mom. They just know I’m their mom. Yesterday, however, despite seeing me the week before, some kids in MiniPlu’s class (2nd grade) expressed some doubts as to her claim that I was really her mom. (I work in the library when MiniPlu’s class comes in.) I suspect they are finally starting to notice that kids usually look like their parents, and that MiniPlu and I are different. I’m thankful that I do not look strikingly different from my daughters – I have dark hair and eyes like they do – but still, it is different – and it seems like the kids are now old enough to be aware of that, and make judgments. 😦


  3. Noticing differences is one thing, and is only natural. These should be celebrated and respected, not unfairly judged. That’s where education comes in — families come in all shapes, sizes and colors.


  4. Friday Feast

    Elaine M.


    Love the poem…love the pictures…love this post. I feel the same as you.

    I think some people just love to hate! It disturbs me the way some individuals on talk radio and on TV are doing their best to incite anger in citizens and to arouse the worst emotions in people.

    Have a happy and peaceful weekend.


  5. Oh this should be required reading, accented by the perfect pictures you chose to accompany it. Thank you. You are right, there is too much ugliness in the world.


  6. Re: Friday Feast

    It’s so frustrating that so many are so easily swayed! How will we ever be able to sit down and reasonably discuss the issues and come to any sort of compromise with all these radical deadbeats fanning the flames and distracting everyone from the process?


  7. from Laura @ Author Amok

    Thanks for the poem and for sharing the beautiful photo. When we moved to the DC/Baltimore suburbs, I didn’t realize what a diverse community it was. So grateful my kids are in public school with kids from many different backgrounds, different colors, ethnic names. It’s just part of their lives. What a gift!


  8. Hi Sis, Thanks so much for verbalizing my frustration at the schism that I see in this country currently. While we were able to elect our first black president, we are now rudely reminded of the ugly elements that have indeed shaped our unique history. Your beautiful article reminds us of the principle of yin/yang. Where there is ugliness, there is beauty. Where there is cynicism, there is purity of spirit. We see this clearly in children, who with their open hearts and minds demonstrate how far we can stray if we are not vigilant. Love, Syl


  9. What a beautiful poem. I didn’t know it, and thank you for posting it here. Agree with all you said. Yes, there’s ugliness …

    Spend all you have for loveliness,
    buy it and never count the cost.


  10. Re: from Laura @ Author Amok

    Yes, diversity is a gift we should all embrace. I took it for granted growing up in Hawaii, but once I moved to the mainland, I learned differently. Things can get a little hairier for me the farther down I-95 I travel.


  11. Thanks for your wonderful comment! You said it perfectly. The reds and blues are still at odds. Change is a slow, painful process. I just hate to see us stepping back again after making some progress with the election!


  12. Jama, lovely poem, beautiful photos, and wonderful post. I am not American, but I agree with everything you said. And, I do believe we are on the cusp of change. Honestly, I think part of all the tumult going on now is due to that change that has begun. It’s shaking things up.

    In the meantime we have to hold on to hope and keep looking for the beauty and good all around us. Even though it doesn’t get the attention of the media, I believe it’s still there. We just have to look a little harder to see it–and sometimes, turning off the TV for a while really does wonders. 🙂

    My blog: Reflective Ink


  13. Welcome, Gisele, and thanks for stopping in today. Appreciate your insightful words. I think you’re right — there are just so many big problems in the U.S. right now, with so many different agendas. Hopefully we can all weather the storm and emerge better and stronger.


  14. That was a lot of wonder and joy! Thank you, Jama!

    Enjoy your Sunday. I’m typing in a used bookstore and have a view of sun on the river. And purple asters. Three new-to-me books to read. Obviously, there’s even wireless.

    It’s a tough life, I know. I guess the shop will close sometime…


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