Terrible Beauty

Some kind of end is near, I imagine,
with so much fierce and terrible beauty
at large, at loose ends,
roaming the broken contours of the world-

the kind of lonely and terrible beauty
that finds a home at last,
etched into the face of the last gaunt,
surviving witness.

I see it in this woman,
in the jagged-edged beauty
of her craggy face
as she struggles,
as her glance darts forth from
the narrow ledge of safety-
eyes of sparrow and hawk,

whose sudden movements
evoke at once, the inevitable storm
descending from the peaks
and the mad scramble for shelter
along the rocky slopes,

and whose laughter starts out
like a low intimation
of rumbling in the distance
and ends like a scream
torn out of this world.

I imagine the look
of remembrance
she might have shared with a cousin-
two young girls
driven from their ancestral village
and urged through the mountains
with fervent whispered prayers,
while briars grope and tear
at their bare legs
under the cloak of night.

So many elegies now,
suggested in that gaunt
cheekbone, in the knobby hand
waving at imagined

so many windblown shelters
abandoned and laid bare,
in the scrape and clatter
of her withheld breath:

the muffled scrape
of bare footsteps
creeping along the floor
of an abandoned cathedral,

the clatter of unexpected
keys in the lock, or worse,
the mad roar of a door

and finally
the domestic scrapes-

a bottle, kicked
and rolling across
the bare wooden floorboards,
or the bare mattress on rusty springs
and the bare murmuring
of a child
rocking herself to sleep.


words: Tim Hawkins, Michigan (more & more)
image: Jeff Crouch, Texas (more)

another blueprintreview near-the-end poem:
In the District of Anger


BluePrintReview - issue 19 - Beyond the Silence