Beautiology

What business has science in beauty’s art?
Is beauty to be studied, laid out bear,
exposed, analysed, to be pulled apart;
interrogated crudely, hair by hair?
I have heard ‘beauty’ many times expressed:
“… as more than a sum of parts considered.”
I’ve heard ‘beauty’ in ratios addressed:
“…nothing more than balance, so configured.”
Beauty’s been the subject of cruel compare,
the victim of insult; likened to tart.
Beauty’s been the envy of those who care
more for head and hand than they do for heart.
. Beautiology – a science absurd,
. let bells and folly tell the truth preferred.

© Tim Grace, 16 June 2013


To the reader: The probing eye of science has long had its sights on beauty. For thousands of years the mother of science has been measuring beauty’s ratio in an attempt to identify ‘that’ alluring attraction. Beauty’s design can be artfully mimicked; incorporated into works of architecture and landscape; appropriated into fashion and ornamental crafts. Beauty, if it must be measured, reveals effortless carriage of its own perfection… a natural effect.

To the poet: Unpacked, this sonnet has some interesting design features. The three stanzas are quite different in structure but stand side-by-side in logical agreement. As three debaters, they present their case in defence of beauty’s natural stance. The first stanza questions intent, the second speaks its doubt, and the third interrogates the motive; of what the final couplet calls ‘beautiology’. All in all a well rounded debate.


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