The Charm Is A Lie; The Beauty, Vanity. And Now They’re Gone
I once had a beautiful woman in my life.
She filled my heart with passion,
making it swell till it felt like it would burst.
She smelt of myrtle, and shone with the warm, soothing glow of proud little flames.
She wrote fervent, moving poetry,
which I’d read aloud in desperate yet futile attempts to make others feel it too.
She taught me how to dance with the pure joy of a child,
and to sing when there were others to sing with.
She was awed by lightning and thunder,
full moons, sunsets, and first blossoms.
She was grateful for every thing she had,
for food and health and sight and simply waking up in the morning;
and when she’d reunite with a friend
she’d show how much they meant to her by saying a prayer.
She knew to abstain regularly from pleasure,
so that the desire for it never dies;
and that it’s through strong boundaries that one creates the most intense beauty.
She said that goodness is defined first and foremost by how you treat others,
while inspiring the pursuit of personal purity.
She believed every person’s life was sacred,
and was concerned for the feelings of all living things.
She’d stand before the Creator at the end of each day to declare forgiven those who’d wronged her,
and when a new year dawned she’d ask for herself the same.
She adored children, surrounded herself with them;
and made sure every week to spend a day bonding with those she loved.
She cared for the widow, the orphan and the stranger,
for she had been a stranger once;
and she demanded justice from the Judge of the Earth.
She strove to be a beacon of spiritual and ethical perfection,
so that one day, all people would walk in her light.
Along came a scholar who had studied she who I loved.
He laughed at my adoration, which he told me was naive and superficial.
These external things were just misguided, feel-good nonsense, he said.
To understand the truth, you have to go deeper.
Beneath the surface, that’s where there’s real substance.
So he pulled out a knife and slit open her chest,
and he showed me the wondrous workings of her heart.
He sliced open her navel, and taught me about the complexity of her organs;
took a hammer to her skull
and enthusiastically lectured about the unplumbable depth of her intricate brain.
He showed me how beneath the surface was an incredible system of billions of interconnected parts, all of it symbolising some deep spiritual level of her psyche, which one could study for an eternity.
And he told me that if I really cared about her, that’s what I’d do.
* * *
I knelt before the bloodied corpse of the beautiful woman I loved, and wept.
The scholar had shown me the astounding level of theoretical genius that lay within,
but the smart, sensitive lover I once had, lay dead.
All the charm and wisdom I had connected with was no more.
The pretty face I used to smile at, the body I’d lovingly hold and caress, utterly mutilated.
In its place I had a rigid, arbitrary, and at times intensely ugly, web of interrelated systems,
the study of which did indeed stimulate my mind,
but left me frustrated and confused.
I understood it, but it made no sense to me.
It had a brain and even a soul,
but nowhere could I see a heart.
* * *
There are those who say you don’t need a lover;
that Truth doesn’t exist and one can find beauty within oneself.
But I have photos of a real-life Prophet hanging in my house,
so I, I don’t have such freedoms.
Unable to bury she who I once loved,
I carry her lifeless body with me, all the time.
My heart still swells with the passion and adoration she filled it with long ago,
but my face no longer smiles when I speak of her,
and her poetry makes me cry.
I cannot bring myself to choose between beauty and truth,
in place of either,
I have sadness.