I am afraid of Beauty!

I am afraid of Beauty.
Saw this in myself this evening.

The long legs tight in black
with a slim tall torso in thin and loose cotton white
where my eyes do not stop but find instead
the sides of her face
cradled by long easy flowing black hair
falling like a spring rain and framing not one
but two beautiful eyes of coal radiant with a light
that happens to gaze without waver into my own
seeing deep into this human soul.

Time stops for a moment of recognition
and then I run—quick as I can look away and
she moves on past me down the row of empty folding chairs
maybe five away from me but nearer center
and sits in a place of her own.

Then we each catch the other returning for a look
to see more of the beauty and mystery perceived—
as if daylight might reveal
something more ordinary
and again I turn my eyes,
in flight finding the introvert’s solace
of one not wanting to intrude,
be impolite, perhaps be caught
again in my lust for the beautiful feminine
having previously burned myself and the goddess too
more times than we any longer count.

So here, tonight, yes
I sit naked
in front of the realization
that I am afraid of beauty
and of the feminine
and drawn, inexplicably, to look yet again
by the grace of a hunger
into the mirror.


“Beauty will save the world.” — Dostoevsky

What is so fascinating to me, as I caught myself experiencing what I recognized within as a ‘fear of beauty,’ was the myriad of ways in which I see this playing out through my life. The fear of connecting with people (not just beautiful women), a fear of joy… a fear of living fully… and a fear of death too. For surely in death there is beauty as well.

Without it, after all, there would not be the beauty to be found in birth. And I write this as my own father lies on his death bed, so the intimacy of fear and beauty are close. We all have but one father to offer to the mystery even as we have but one life of our own to offer as well.

Surly in this offering is our own re-wilding, and our own redemption.

“In ourselves the universe is revealed to itself as we are revealed in the universe.” — Thomas Berry, The Great Work, pg. 32

Note, I suspect a case can be made that it was/is a fear of the wild fierce beauty of the natural world that drives man to destroy it. So it is that this masculine fear of the feminine plays itself out in large and ‘small’ ways.

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