Give to Beauty what is Beauty

He started full of strength
And he sat like something mattered,
Elbowed-knees and gathered knuckles
Like the breaker of bad news
And he whispered to the Thames
As it wandered notwithstanding.
Do you know? Could you tell me what is beauty?
What is beauty?  And he falters
And his gaze becomes the only thing
About him that is spirit, as the rest begins to fade
Lie with numbers, make a ratio
Pacify with Fibonacci
And the Thames? It had a purpose and was rushing to the sea.
“Could you tell me?” now in earnest
And with urgent wringing hands
And aging face and changing prospects
What is beauty in my hands?
Tell him Plato has the answer
Tell him poetry might falter
And I sorrow, rushing water, that we might have helped him see. 
What is beauty? Now more quiet
And he’s washed away in torrents
That I couldn’t stem, and wouldn’t stem
I wouldn’t even try
Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s
Give to Beauty what is Beauty
In the image, in the likeness.  In the truth I live and die.
What is beauty? It would comfort
If I knew he knew the answer
Answer ancient and so new and so late to come to grips
And the Thames returned to rolling
Faces altered in the water
What is beauty?  Did I tell him?  Did a soul just pass me by?

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