beauty & sadness

beauty & sadness
november 2021, for M.                              

Tablet with Linear A script, photo taken at Archaeological Museum of Chania, Crete; attributed to author: By Ursus – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

there should be
a prize at
the end

they found your
body after what
we knew as you
had already
left it in
your place,
a cup on
the bench,
a cupboard
door standing
open?, in my
so little of it,
your life like the find
a shepherd boy made
on hillside ground
twisted and dry
as olive trunks,
a figure on a
broken frieze,
painted large with
curls, eye and gesture,
of a kingdom in its
own time honoured
before all others,
the sentences your days
wrote slipped beyond
the letter into buried shadows
of an unknown script,
a Linear A not to be gathered
in orchard truth from everyone
you knew, for they were planted
in your life, as you in theirs,
and was there light for
you at the end
at least a gold through
the window you still
found at eye level,
was there a recalled
tenderness shining
over you, unbound
and errant muse,
hectoring us local poets
with your ‘yay’, and ‘darling’
stepping in, usually alone
into the hopeful dark of
the parched dog of a pub
standing on K’ Rd,
and leaving so, last time
i saw you, you told me,
‘well, you have to die from
something, so why not this,’
you smiled, and whether you
knew or not had knocked up a
billboard likeness of
yourself in those words
nothing defeatist,
just grabbed the essential
in bon-mot and limping smile,
was there light for you,
darling, at the end
because there should
have been, were things
fair and fair, and the
title of a book i remember
was ‘Beauty & Sadness’*
and perhaps that’s most
of it, these words of mine,
a thin, thin prize i lay
on your stone

* According to Wikipedia, ‘Linear A was the primary script used in the palace and religious writings of the Minoan civilization. … No texts in Linear A have been deciphered’.

*’Beauty & Sadness’, the novel by Japanese Nobel Prize Winner Yasunari Kawabata.

Copyright © 2021 Peter Le Baige. All Rights Reserved

The music accompanying the reading is from a video recording by the ocean of 4 versions of the solo lyra part for accompanying performance of the 17th century Cretan epic poem, the ‘Erotokritos’, played here by Cretan musician and instrument maker Stelios Petrakis.

The recording can be viewed here:

4 thoughts on “beauty & sadness”

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