Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beauty and Terror

Beauty and Terror

The beauty and the terror of the water 
May be intrinsic to human
Yet I remember the moment
At an early age
When beauty and terror
Were knit together.

“You hear ‘bout Johnny Ray?”
I didn’t know Johnny Ray
I was six years old
My family new in town
But I soon saw a community gathered
In mourning.

“He got ‘lectracuted,”
My playmate told me,
“Down on the backwater.”
Johnny Ray must have been 18 or 20 years old,
The shock of a young life taken
Had rocked the town.

It wasn’t just the water
That took him,
Not exactly.
He was standing in the water building a pier
And using a power drill.
Maybe Johnny Ray was ignorant of the danger
Or just plagued with a youthful sense of
But the waters held no currency
For ignorance or delusion.

Henceforth, a young life taken would ensure
That beauty could not be viewed
Without terror.
Henceforth the two
Would be inexorably bound.

Recognition of beauty,
Beginning of terror,
Acceptance of the whole.

                               ~ CK

               *    *    *

“For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure,
and we are so awed because it serenely disdains
to annihilate us. Every angel is terrifying.”
                     ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies


Photo: A view of one site on Lake Martin (Lake Martin Realty photo)
Lake Martin is the result of the construction of Martin Dam on the Tallapoosa River. The locals once referred to it as "The Backwater" before it became prime real estate.



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