Maculate Beauty Poem

Maculate Beauty Poem By Karl Kirchwey

To speak of maculate beauty, it is this:
my son’s head as he stands in the shower,
his body stippled by the water’s hiss
as the gold is slowly silvered over—
I don’t mean vermeil, which is silver gilded,
but silvered gold, which further age will bring,
beauty being heightened by the unyielded
advance out of its own diminishing,
just as Delaune designed parade armor
magnificent in all its decorations
(Python’s gilt scales, Daphne’s gilt pubic hair,
Apollo’s rays) for Henry II of France,
and the first steel, embossed, blued, gilt, then silvered,
came to resemble nothing it had been,
overbuilt in the rich chase, grown so fecund
it seemed a profligate beyond invention,
privileged to vision for a moment—or as
a ferry slows, approaching the gray chute
of boards, and rubs them screaming into splinters,
and in that narrowed place of creaming salt,
plants stand revealed, briefly shiver and drip,
their roots a pink of such delicacy
it cannot have come from the turbid wallop
and gasp of brine: but has, being maculate beauty.

Maculate Beauty Poem

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