Beauty in Broken Pieces


New Note as of March 11, 2016: This poem has just been published on a favorite online journal called Ekphrastic: Writing and Art on Art and Writing. A link to the journal:

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Readers of this blog don’t always notice its subtitle: One Poet’s Practice. I like to practice. I like to experiment. All poets do. Without stretching the mind, you fall into the pattern of repetition. Each poem starts sounding like the last or the next.

I have been writing a lot in short form poetry–haiku, haiga, tanka, and other small poems. Today, in an effort to go in a completely different direction, I offer you a very long, rambling poem–quite unlike me, I know. It is called “Beauty in Broken Pieces,” inspired by a lovely photograph taken in Dublin, Ireland by India Leigh Lassiter, herself a talented writer as well as photographer. Thank you, India, for allowing me to use your picture as a starting point for this poem.


To hear me read this poem, please click on the link below (give it a minute to load):


India blue spiral

Blue Spiral, Dublin, Ireland (c) 2015 photograph by India Leigh Lassiter


Beauty in Broken Pieces…



Perhaps it was once a deep blue vase,
holding seven pale pink peonies
freshly cut one May morning…

the silence shattered
suddenly when
she lost her balance,

the oval table

and together
crashed down,

one in splintered pieces,
the other dazed
watching the water
slowly spread
under the petals.

Or perhaps…

it was packed away in a doctor’s study,
an old cabinet filled with bottles…
cobalt blue bottles with faded labels,
the dark blue hinting of hidden secrets,
dangers that lay in long-dried residue
of those bottles that were shattered
and thrown upon a fire
that raged for hours,
flaring up in vivid hues
of acid green
and mustard yellow,
tipped with amber,
azure and moon,
the air once heavy
with poison
and dreams.


there was no story.

Do you believe the whole really is bigger
than the sum of its parts?
And please, don’t let’s forget
there is always

Large things are large,
but small things
are also large
if seen


It is lovely, this small mosaic
made of glass in shades of blue,

blue so dark,
it might still hold the sound
of the ocean from the sand
that washed up and back
over and over

dancing on the ocean floor

before it became
the glass
we see…

for what is glass
but sand
and fire,


a simple
in shades
of blue, pearl and silver
might hold the deep bass song
of the darkling ocean,
the glimmering
of clouds

patterns spiraling through nature
like our thoughts about beauty,
reality or memory’s truth

Fibonacci gave it his name,
the Greeks gave it meaning
with their golden ratio…
it exists everywhere
… a simple nautilus shell,
the sunflower’s seed head
that turns to the sun,
and following its cue, the pinecone,
the hurricane, even the galaxy, the cosmos

and here with this Irish glass spiral
we come full circle of woman
with camera, snapping
a photo, capturing
the balance of
silvery bits
and pearl
to blue






13 thoughts on “Beauty in Broken Pieces

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