I found this written in my daily journal from 2013.
It’s a poem by Grace Noll Crowell called The Day Will Bring Some Lovely Thing.
I remember writing it down and memorizing it as part of my inner work practice . I recited it every morning that month as we celebrated National Poetry Month.
She talks about encountering “some sudden beauty without a name.”
This is my favourite experience when I begin to lean into possibility – my fleeting encounters with beauty where there is no name.
This is the essence of the Japanese concept mono no aware. Like most Japanese concepts, this is difficult to explain with words. It is the “ahhness of things” or “the bittersweet poignancy of things” or “the sadness or pathos of things.”
I love this description best from this Japan Times article:
the appreciation of things in the shadow of their future absence.
The spring blossoms are out here in the city. The cherry trees and magnolias are in full bloom. Social media and news outlets heavily cover these events this week because it is a beautifully brief occurrence. People come all over the city to walk amidst the trees and along the path-lined pink petals.
We used to have a magnolia tree in our front yard of our old house in the city. We would watch the buds form and wait for the bloom. Each year we would always be surprised when at long last, the flowers would open and the blossoms would fill the tree. I would sit by the window nursing a child relieved that I made it through another winter but a little sad knowing that eventually the flowers will fall and the seasons will change again.
For the next few days, I am going to stay in this theme of beauty.
I want to tune into this deeper connection of the beauty of change and the paradox of emotions that run through it, like the veins in marble – distinct combinations of impurities that formed into these delicate striating giving the stone its unique crystallized appearance over time. Rocks can change too.
The new owners of our old house cut down the magnolia tree and we all grieved when we found out. Last week we looked out the window of their grandparents’ house and saw one in full bloom. Now we see the beauty both as loss and as something found again – the tree itself and the memories that soften and eventually fade where the emotions ran so sharp.
- Write or draw “sudden beauty without a name”. You can use words or images to describe the thing that can’t be named.
- Orient yourself to beauty today. How do you see the world? How does it make you feel?
- Copy the poem:
The Day Will Bring Some Lovely Thing
By Grace Noll Crowell
The day will bring some lovely thing,
I say it over each new dawn,
Some gay, adventurous thing to hold
Against my heart when it is gone,
And so I rise and go to meet
The day with wings upon my feet.
I come upon it unaware,
Some sudden beauty without name,
A snatch of song, a breath of pine,
A poem lit with golden flame-
High tangled bird notes keenly thinned
Like flying color on the wind.
No day has ever failed me, quite
Before the grayest day is done,
I come upon some misty bloom,
Or a late line of crimson sun.
Each night I pause, remembering,
Some gay, adventurous, lovely thing.