coupling tendency: beauty & tragedy

12241774_1643323735946382_511661834984725899_nIs it really human nature to always search for beauty in tragedy or tragedy in beauty concurrently? I repeatedly find myself doing this as if [perhaps, wrongly] assuming they co-exist. When did this start for me? What is the source of this coupling tendency; is it Greek mythology, Shakespeare, or the epic Vietnamese poem The Tale of Kiều? Or something else that is of childhood?

Take this untampered landscape photograph of a dry, curling, autumn leaf floating on a numb, cold water surface; its join reflection spurting life to an iridescent butterfly. Such befuddled beauty – a serendipitous arrangement by nature and nature alone – yet I also see inevitable tragedy. I bare witness to the live-lost of striking colors on the delicate chitin of its spotted wings, like lungs being slowly destroyed by harmful tars with each whiff of smoke. I feel its vivid agony and silent struggle against the seemingly sweet yet perfidious current beneath. Spectacular beauty yields the last gasp of its eventful demise. At the same moment its tragedy finally reaches me,  and an image of a “crying butterfly” makes its authoritative entrance into a poem of mine, in the M of December collection.

I supposed I might be cured one day (and stop being human), unexpectedly and unknowingly, but for now, I am incapable of separating the leaf, the deep water, and the tears of my dying butterfly – frozen in a Frame of Blue Ruin.

[photo credit: Ce Lavie]
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