Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sonnet For an Actress

Here's a sonnet for an actress. Which actress? No one in particular, though Julie Christie or Jacqueline Bissett might work in my case. Readers may substitute their own actress or actor, for the poem seems to be about "beauty" and notions of beauty, as they're projected onto and by the culture, whatever that means. I think it means that in a culture of mass media, especially cinema and television, media-icons, however short their iconic lifespan (as opposed to their biological lifespan) may be, help define beauty--for better or worse or both.

Sonnet for an Actress

You should have seen her yesterday.
She was more beautiful than our
Idea of beauty; and the way
She carried beauty in her hour

Unveiled achievement by a body
Unmatched by art. You should have seen
Her. Yes, our gaze was always ready.
What, though, did her beauty mean?

Did she embody what we thought?
Or did she teach us to desire?
And were we seeing what we sought,
Or held in spell by beauty’s choir?

Confused, nostalgic—what to say?
If you’d just seen her yesterday . . . .

Copyright 2007 Hans Ostrom

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