The Beauty Is: NaPoWriMo


Monday Morning Musings:

“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night –William Shakespeare, Romeo, Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 5

“And the beauty is, when you realize, when you realize, Someone could be looking for a someone like you.” –Adam Guettel, “The Beauty Is” from the musical, The Light in the Piazza  Song here.

“At such moments I don’t think about all the misery, but about the beauty that still remains. This is where Mother and I differ greatly. Her advice in the face of melancholy is “Think about all the suffering in the world and be thankful you’re not part of it.” My advice is: “Go outside, to the country, enjoy the sun and all nature has to offer. Go outside and try to recapture the happiness within yourself; think of all the beauty in yourself and in everything around you and be happy. –Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl, March 7, 1944

It’s a rainy Earth day,

the grey skies swaddle pink and white blossoms

Spring, verdant, full of life, thirsty, greedily drinks like a baby,

unselfconscious and we the admiring parents watch her,

she is beautiful, even when she’s a dirty mess.


A mother-daughter outing to see Beauty and the Beast,

the theater has reserved seats that we recline in ready for the magic to begin


My daughter is comfortable in the theater.


— the Disney version of the story,

though we’re both impressed by Gaston, more nuanced than his cartoon version,

possibly charming at first in an oafish way

until the true darkness of his soul is revealed,

the mob scenes remind me a bit too much of history and recent events,

mobs inflamed by ignorant narcissists,

it’s happened throughout the ages

it happens now,

but how can I not enjoy a story where the heroine loves books,

a movie that is a shout out to literacy,

and where lovers bond over reading,

Belle reads poetry to the Beast,

he knows a quotation from her favorite play, Romeo and Juliet,

there’s singing and dancing, people and objects,

I had forgotten Audra McDonald was in this movie–

until she sang,

and I didn’t know Dan Stevens had such a fine voice,

(remember that time he was in a little series called Downton Abbey?)

we get a backstory for the Beast (which we both like)

Belle’s backstory is inserted more awkwardly,

Still it is an enjoyable couple of hours of mother and daughter time

And there is more beauty in the day

the beauty is. ..

a bowl of lemons


not exactly life giving them to us

as going to the store and buying six bags of them

and rather than lemonade, we mix them with vodka to make limoncello

aren’t grownup daughters fun!

(And beautiful?)

So, we grate lemon peel,

the kitchen becomes gloriously lemon-scented,

a Chopin polonaise plays softly in the background,

(her husband’s study music),

we talk, of her girlfriends, of work, of this and that,

my husband has been doing yard work

(it’s not raining that hard, he says),

he sits at the table with us,

their dog chews on his toy,

their cat ventures out to see if it’s dinner time


Not pleased by the citrus scent


When we’re finished, we eat takeout Pakistani food,

my husband and my son-in-law learn

the kind and talkative restaurant owner was educated at Oxford

(perhaps he is a book lover, too?)

And what do I do the next day with leftover lemons?

Make lemon cake, of course!



It’s beautiful and delicious.

And though there are beasts all around, the beauty is. . .

spending time with people you love,

enjoying good food and wine,

beauty simple and sudden,

striking you, when you look up from your morning coffee

to see the sun dawning over the neighbor’s white dogwood tree

FullSizeRender 105

The photo does not capture how beautiful it was


the profound beauty of birth, mixed with blood and pain,

the simple beauty of a smile,

the beauty that is there within the beast,

the beauty is

it surrounds us

the beauty is. . .

in yourself and in everything around you


Today is Day 24, NaPoWriMo. We’re asked to write a poem of ekphasis, a poem inspired by a work of art. We’re challenged to base a poem on marginalia of medieval manuscripts. I suppose you could very loosely say I’ve done this, as they are beautiful and filled with beasts. (Such as this one )

Huffington Post summarizes some previous versions of Beauty and the Beast here.

Today is Yom HaShoah ( This year, it’s Sunset, April 23- Sunset April 24), Holocaust Remembrance Day. I wonder what Anne Frank would be writing about now, and if she would still see beauty in the world.

23 thoughts on “The Beauty Is: NaPoWriMo

  1. Lots to like here: your bold use of verbs. Who knew that skies could “swaddle”? Your notice of the literary aspects of Beauty and the Beast. I too loved the quotes. And of course Dan Stevens. Could the voice have been dubbed in? Maybe, maybe not.

    Right now I am surrounded by spring beauty in PA. I just brought in a bouquet of white lilacs. Ah, the fragrance!

    • Thank you, Marian. I laughed at your “who knew” comment. Poetic license. 🙂 From something I read, I think it was Dan Stevens singing. Apparently, he also has a literary magazine–very talented in many genres.
      Oh white lilacs–lovely!

  2. I think Anne Frank would be seeing the beauty, but I agree, advocating for all of humanity to share in and treasure the beauty.
    More wonderful family time (with cat and a beautiful sunset). What could be better? Thanks! (K)

  3. Thank you, Merril! The analysis part of your take on Gaston (more nuanced) and the riled up townspeople were parallel reactions to my own. . .
    I mentioned to someone that the scenes with the angry mob in “Beauty and the Beast” were scary to the children and grandchildren in the theatre. They shrugged their shoulders. It was as if it meant little. I think the recent live, angry mob scenes and hateful diatribes have made me more “weary” of what is usually considered the bad versus good plotlines of most fairy tales and all Disney films.
    The lemon cake looks delicious. Adult beverages are a bonus shared with grown children, I agree! 🙂
    The guy I date’s sister sells a lemon liqueur in New Albany, Ohio using her family’s old homeland, Italian, recipe. Their company is called Tessora. It is delicious! I can imagine homemade drink better having tried something like this. 🙂

    • I actually said to my daughter that watching this in the Age of T–p was a different experience than when we first saw the animated version. 🙂 I think my daughters when young would have been scared by the wolves and the fight scene at the castle near the end.
      We’ve never made limoncello before–so we’ll have to see how it is. It has to sit for about a month, then we add some sugar syrup and more vodka and let it sit for another month.

  4. Ah, beauty is more plentiful than beasts, I want to believe. Your lemon cake looks delicious, but your cute cat is none too pleased with the smell. Lol. I enjoyed the flow of your post and your photos perfectly illustrated your themes.

    Shalom, dear Merril.

  5. The recipe takes time but I am sure this will be delicious. When my brother Rich visited last November, we put some over vanilla ice cream. . . Mmmm-mmmm! Our family isn’t one who chooses vodka or gin; so it made sense to serve over something. Next time, serve maybe over pound cake! 💛 🍋

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