Donde pongo el ojo pongo la bala.
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Category — literature

She walks in beauty…

Isn’t it surprising what, when we are children, influences who we would like to become?

I was always a bookworm. From the day I learned to read, I never put books down again. Some children went to school with toys in their backpacks. I went to school with a backpack full of non-school books. When I was sent to my room for being “bad”, I rejoiced. Not because I got to watch TV or listen to the radio or play with my dolls (which I obviously wasn’t allowed to do), but because I knew that it meant I could sit there in the dark or I could read a book, and my mom wouldn’t really mind. If I didn’t come out to apologize after a few minutes, she knew what I was up to, and would walk into my room with a loud sigh.

“I’m sorry mommy! But did you know that spiders aren’t insects? They’re actually arthropods! AND SO ARE SCORPIONS!” What kind of a monster would be able to resist a squeaky-voiced six year old piping that breathless apology at them?

I always had access to genres I probably shouldn’t have had at the time. My dad was a pilot, and he’d bring home any books that had been neglectfully forgotten on the plane. This is how I was introduced to V.C. Andrews (for the love of all things, keep her books away from your children… and from anyone else, for that matter), Ray Bradbury (still one of my favorites, and to various poets. And this was how, at seven or so, I was introduced to Lord Byron…

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

I must’ve read that poem, mesmerized, fascinated, over 50 times the first time I found it. Throughout the years, it has found me, time and again, when I’m in the middle of an existential crisis, when I forget who I am and who I want to be, and it soothes, somehow.

And though it may make me old-fashioned, I think that just as it was my seven year old self’s mantra, this poem continues to be exactly that: a mantra, a description worthy of aspiration. And for the life of me, I can’t imagine a woman who wouldn’t want to be known for all those things, in some degree… no matter how modern and unconventional she is…

December 17, 2010   2 Comments