21 September 2017

An erring lace

One night in 2015 maybe, I was walking with a friend towards a club. I couldn't remember how the conversation went there, but I declared, "I look my best now."

As I write this I think, No. I look my best now;

And think of perfection. My every day has been a deliberate (though not always successful) step towards that. In 2014 I got my own space. When friends would invite themselves in, I'd quip, I want it to be Instagrammable first, give me time. I want my home to reflect who I am, therefore I want it to be perfect.

Although I know there's no such thing and if I ever reached it, What else?

Then I came across this Robert Herrick poem published in Love poems, a collection of poetry read on BBC Radio 4's Poetry please:
Delight in disorder
Robert Herrick

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness.
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthralls the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoestring, in whose tie
I see a wild civility;
Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part.

Earlier this month we lost John Ashbery.

John Ashbery. Where shall I wander. New York: Ecco Paperback, 2006.

My favorite poem of his is also one of my favorite poems of all time: Some trees. But going through my copy of Where shall I wander, I find a fitting excerpt about death. Us in another's eyes. That it is not our memory but their memory of us that counts. From Novelty love trot:
In the end it matters little what things we enjoy.
We list them, and barely have we begun
when the listener's attention has turned to something else.
"Did you see that? The way that guy cut him off?"
Darlings, we'll all be known for some detail,
some nick in the chiseled brow, but it won't weigh much
in the scale's careening pan. What others think
of us is the only thing that matters,
to us and to them...
This also reminds me of my other favorite poem of all time, which is about dressing well. It doesn't touch on perfection, but instead on making a lasting impression.

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