I recently found this marvel of a poem by Mark Strand, and I fell in love with it, so much that I used it as a writing exercise in the Writing Beauty Road Trip I co-led with writer Patricia Fontaine in Vermont last week. Please consider writing yourself your own love poem to your body, seeing yourself as you would see the beloved. view the beloved.
Old Man Leaves Party
It was clear when I left the party
That though I was over eighty I still had
A beautiful body. The moon shone down as it will
On moments of deep introspection. The wind held its breath.
And look, somebody left a mirror leaning against a tree.
Making sure that I was alone, I took off my shirt.
The flowers of bear grass nodded their moonwashed heads.
I took off my pants and the magpies circled the redwoods.
Down in the valley the creaking river was flowing once more.
How strange that I should stand in the wilds alone with my body.
I know what you are thinking. I was like you once. But now
With so much before me, so many emerald trees, and
Weed-whitened fields, mountains and lakes, how could I not
Be only myself, this dream of flesh, from moment to moment?
— Mark Strand