from Kite Flying at Midnight
As I'm driving beneath live oaks along Albany Avenue, I hear a portion of Mozart's "A Little Night Music," on a radio program titled "Romance." I imagine a man in Mozart's time, gazing at some corseted beauty. He savors her perfection, while it speaks of ultimate loss—beauty that will not be his at all, nor even the possession of the beautiful.
I realize that the gazer's eye for beauty is not the live oak's eye for beauty, if it has such an eye. But I think of the stars, and the animals, and wonder what their eyes for beauty might be. I realize that poems—like Mozart's music, like the corseted one—are beautiful in a small way, beautiful to those few who can see this quality in them. Yet they also suggest, by their painfully limited beauty—by their painfully limited capacity for recognition as the beautiful—that all things must be beautiful.
How often we rely on mystical moments, like this one with Mozart, to shake us and frighten us with that troubling fact. Mozart is great because his music can inspire such feeling and thought. The image of the gazer on his lucent lady, as I pass beneath the eyes of the stars and the live oaks.
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Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.
In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
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Born and raised in Des Moines, Donald Morrill has lived in Florida since 1980, mostly in Tampa, where he is currently the Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Tampa. He is the author of three books of nonfiction and two volumes of poetry. His entire essay "Kite Flying at Midnight" appears in the Fall 2007 issue of The Iowa Review.