Character Being a Different Thing from Beauty, Describe the Difference

Carl Phillips

And sometimes, yes, I’d beg for it—
he’d make me beg: Shy moon,
why shy tonight?

I heard the geese before I saw them again this morning—
this time, flying north. Above them, thunderheads like doomed
zeppelins, like whales when sounding, though they brought
no rain. That’s how I used to write, insisting on ordinary things
being somehow more than that, that they had to mean something,
the way disruption can punctuate with meaning an established

pattern, or as when finding out one’s silence has been mistaken
for arrogance or, worse, indifference, when all you meant
was to be kind—retreat, not exile; less the monsters, than
how we lived beside them, our lives not leaves not trash on an
updraft that at random carries them then refuses them, can a wind
refuse. And yet…

Shy moon --

As if doing what we’d always done were enough to be grateful for,
as if to keep doing it were itself to be grateful. You just forgot,
that’s all. It’s harder not to forget. How the yard gave way
like a ragged imperative to a forest of scrub-pines and oak, mostly,

how a stand of ferns there almost looked, from above, like a boat
of shadows, coming at last unmoored, and the forest a sea—that
endless-seeming, that steeped in night-dark, beg for it, why shy

Last updated September 23, 2022