Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LOOKING ON BEAUTY, by WALTER JOHN COATES

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LOOKING ON BEAUTY, by            
First Line: I have seen beauty; I have sensed her rhythms
Last Line: Deep welling from her glorious life in me!
Subject(s): Beauty

I have seen Beauty; I have sensed her rhythms,
Graceful as Venus, lithe as Trojan Helen,
Virgin as Psyche, stark as the mermaid's form;
Seen her, like Cleopatra, sensuous, bold,
In her patrician pride and purple robes;
Seen her, demure, in sober Quaker gray,
Firm as austerity, placid as peace;
Seen her in gypsy guise, nut-brown and free;
Seen her in rouged Delilahs of the street,
Seen her in virtuous wife and laughing maid,—
I have seen Beauty in these various rhythms.

I have seen Beauty; I have heard her speak:
Heard her in rolling thunder on the hills
And echoing back from rocky cliff or ridge;
Heard her in murmurings of the spring-fed brook;
Heard her sad cadence in the sighing wind—
Her slumbrous monotone of pattering rain;
Heard her in fury roaring down the storm,
Wind-whipped and raving and with streaming hair;
Heard her on beating pinions boldly fan
Azures the hawks inhabit, and she sounds
In all the rounded accents of man's tongue
When heart gropes out to heart or soul to soul.

I have seen Beauty in unnumbered forms;
She points the slender spire, colors the vase,
Patterns the urn, the shaft of stone, and breathes
Through the cathedral's nave; she grandly talks
From mountains, and she speaks from pyramids;
And where men sweat she stammers from the great
Industrial buildings—rolls in billowy waves
Of smoke from factories' funnels; the squat forms
Of commerce counterfeit her semblance where
Anemic males and languid females hive,
Telling the prisoned efforts of the hour.

Beauty in sky, in cloud, in grass, in heaven
And on the soil—in lakes and rivers and
The multitudinous denizens of the deeps;
But mostly in the minds and high ideals
Whose eyes outride the bounds of time and space
To fields of asphodel and amaranth.

Yes, I have looked on Beauty ... heard her song;
Now I would journey, for my ears are full
And my tired vision dull with much beholding;—
Lo, I would live with Beauty and would be
Soul of her soul and heart to heart with her
Till every pulse-beat throb her rich refrain
And every breath be burdened with Desire
Deep welling from her glorious life in me!

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