Aesthetics to Change the Way You Live

By Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Featured Art: The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16 October 1834 by Joseph Mallord William Turner

“Aesthetics to Change the Way You Live”
—Growth Magazine

For instance wabi sabi,
a Japanese view of life
that celebrates the imperfect,

the light-hearted sound
of the two words
like figures balanced on a seesaw,

behind them, cloudless sky,
and in the spread, the photograph
of nicked and tarnished silver spoons

arranged in rows on lilac velvet—
how perfectly imperfect.
But separate from the printed page,

the air around me darkens—
and then the sound
like thunder pressing closer

as I think of my own flaws—
and then they all
come charging toward me

like a herd of bison,
so dense it’s hard to see
from all the kicked-up dust.

So loud I cannot think.
How much easier to be won over
by a living room’s worn rug,

the reds and blues, faded,
even threadbare in those places
I have most often stood.

Sally Bliumis-Dunn teaches Modern Poetry at Manhattanville College and the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. Her poems appeared in Plume, Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, and Poetry London. Her third collection, ECHOLOCATION was published by Plume editions/MadHat Press in March, 2018. Echolocation was long-listed for the Julie Suk Award and was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. In 2002, she was a finalist for The Pablo Neruda Prize.

Originally published in NOR 18: Fall 2015

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