by W. S. Graham
No two can meet the way that we have met,
Completely, like the marriage of fused stars
That streak their meteord lights each into each
And shuddering to the life of leaping light
Start down the sky charged to a double blaze.
No two can come the ways that we have come,
Like silver moonlight creeping over stones
On stream-banks, lighting every crystal vein
To Beauty’s sadness. No, they have no dreams
To break the steady darkness of their night.
The summer she was fifteen, Melanie discovered she was made of flesh and blood. O, my America, my new found land. She embarked on a tranced voyage, exploring the whole of herself, clambering her own mountain ranges, penetrating the moist richness of her secret valleys, a physiological Cortez, da Gama or Mungo Park. For hours she stared at herself, naked, in the mirror of her wardrobe; she would follow with her finger the elegant structure of her rib-cage, where her heart fluttered under the flesh like a bird under a blanket, and she would draw down the long line from breast-bone to navel (which was a mysterious cavern or grotto), and she would rasp her palms against her bud-wing shoulderblades. And then she would writhe about, clasping herself, laughing, sometimes doing cartwheels and handstands out of sheer exhilaration at the supple surprise of herself now she was no longer a little girl.
— Angela Carter, The Magic Toyshop
little by little
from the west
comes the other sun
And so you might know me truer and truly, my darling, I gather through us
these glimpses of faces of flowers aglow wholetheway beside unfinished trails of mind between bursts of cla-ri-ty —
barely marked trails over which, so in love and distressed, we pass in pieces, dust off the wings —
and these too are faces who turn open, draft by draft, to ease us as we come back to the world, as we must,
whatever it is, whatever we are
The slow arrow of beauty. — The noblest kind of beauty is not that which suddenly transports us, which makes a violent and intoxicating assault upon us (such beauty can easily excite disgust), but that which slowly infiltrates us, which we bear away with us almost without noticing and encounter again in dreams, but which finally, after having for long lain modestly in our heart, takes total possession of us, filling our eyes with tears and our heart with longing. — What is it we long for at the sight of beauty? To be beautiful ourself: we imagine we would be very happy if we were beautiful. — But that is an error.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human (trans. RJ Hollingdale)
I continued trying on clothes in the hope of becoming so beautiful I would begin to exist.
— Herta Müller, The Appointment
Lines, lines, lines
A meal for time,