I preached in a pub this afternoon. There was a gospel choir giving a concert and I said a few words here and there. While the choir was doing their thing I spotted a pretty young blonde in the crowd who was looking at the female conductor with the kind of look that only jealous women can give. But it was even more complicated than that. It was a look of awe and scorn and genuine confusion. You see the conductor was dancing away, clapping and singing and leading the choir in joyful praise. And the blonde looked like she just about remembered smiling, back before she renounced sudden facial movements for the sake of her plastic beauty. Anyway, it prompted this poem:
Plaintive, Platinum, Pained
Caked in make up,
faked up, furtive,
wild-eyed, wondring how she's watched.
Faintly feeble, restless, regal,
perched in peerless poses,
Female poseurs all faced-down.
No finer found
And she knows it.
Yet on this day, a blaze is lit, to flit
Upon her plastic face. New radiant grace
descends to offend. To bend and afflict her.
Slight frowns a-flicker.
Lips now curl.
For here a foreign fire is set upon her world.
Another sun is risen.
Unbidden. And previously hidden.
She hasn't sought the room's permission.
And yet she stands four square, bare foot and laughing,
Leading, clapping, stamping, shouting.
Tangled hair and hands upraised,
God praised in ways unfazed
At once the made-up beauty gapes. Envy's swirled.
There's longing there, in her stare. And rage.
And awe and shame and scorn.
This light has dawned
from some other age. Some distant world.
The light, for her, was meant to fall,
and she to catch its rays,
in dappled hues upon her face.
It had not occured to her at all
That she was meant to blaze.
But then, what Force could ever source such light?
To call it mine and free-forgetful shine.
Much safer to take flight, flee to flattering night,
ever minding others' sight.
And yet true beauty will endure,
she stands secure,
captured by a fierce delight,
And tunes our hearts to Joy's invite.