‘Why Not Live in Reckless Wonder?’ 3 Poems Bundled Around Beauty

Read these three poems about beauty.

A poem is a hostage note scribbled by a writer negotiating for their life with a moment of beauty. 

A poem is the one call a writer is allowed from prison after being arrested by beauty. 

A poem is the last will and testament from a writer dying of beauty.

This is the level of urgency we used to gather these three poems — they are from writers who noticed something beautiful and had no choice but to sit down and describe it with words. So take a deep breath and open your imagination to join them in that moment. After all, as one of our poets writes, Why not live in reckless wonder?

By Judith Sornberger

Soft pleats of sunlight in white curtains
frame the forget-me-not blue morning
where two wide-eyed tufted titmice
work over naked cherry branches
with short beaks. Surely, they can’t be
the pair whose pewter crests I’ve hoped
to see return these last three winters.

Can they?

I want to say yes, as I rush outside
to sprinkle the smaller seeds
they favor on the snow.
I want to believe two
of that short-lived tribe live on.
I want to say why not to each almost
impossible thing. Why not live
the rest of this life in wild hope
and reckless wonder?


Motion Study and Violin Bowing
By Marty Moran

There is a science in the patterned loops and twirls
fiddle bows etch in cigarette smoke:

the long paw across the G 
            will leave a twisting arc 

a pull back to the A chord 
            scrapes parabolas in the clouds 

each B-Flat 
            sketches tumbling spins of quiver 
            swinging back upon their own inversions

On rare occasions, though, the patterns are neglected when, according to the shifted angle of the spot light, or to a certain pitch and yaw of cat gut and boned hickory, or to the bend and hue of the evening’s redirected streams, the drawing of a simple air could bear the unexplained by scripting names into the carbon, thus declaring things to be not of science but of circumstance and song, a chance lingering till its cursive ebbs into a parting call that whispers out along the barroom rafters.


Love Letter to the Universe
By Sophie Caldecott

I prefer not to wear my heart on my sleeve,
you say;
Repeat “I love you” too much and it loses its charm.

Ah, but you don’t know what it’s like to lose someone,
I reply;
How you cling to the scraps they left behind.

Let the abundance of my love burst the banks of this frail body,
leave tide marks where it passes,
re-shape the landscape through which it travels;
This will be my love letter to the universe.

After I’m gone, I’d like you to know this:
I saw archangels in the condensation on the window,
thanked God for the robin’s song at dawn
as I lay dumbstruck in the grey light of morning.

You should know that the beauty of it hurt,
that I was writing poetry in the shower,
even as I scrubbed black mould from the drain
(it was never just a matter of getting clean).

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