In This Ugly-Beautiful World

Set the one guy’s life in this ugly-beautiful world,
And he’ll decide to hate the ugliness and love the beauty.

And the next guy will love some of each
And hate some of each—
The ugliness and the beauty, that is—

And a third guy will even surprise you by loving
Lots of the ugliness
And hating lots of the beauty.

And after a few decades of that,
It’s not going to take a rocket surgeon
To tell what kind of people we have
Each decided to be.

Even the dullest people should be able
To figure it out, having been shown
Our track records—
And when I say “the dullest people”,
I’m generally talking about us ourselves,
Given that we are generally terrible
As a species
At self-awareness.

But I think that when we see
Our own track records laid out,
And survey our choices,
It will be so plain
What kind of people we were
That we will not be able
To deny it—
Even if we happen to be
The denying sort now.

But what I really wanted to talk about was this:
Every once in a while,
Somebody starts out loving
Too little of the beauty
And too much of the ugliness,
And they figure it out—as they should—
Before they die.

And then the most beautiful thing happens—
Maybe even the most amazing thing
That ever happens here in this age:
They change their values, and decide
To love all the good
And hate all the bad.

And that, I suppose,
Is perhaps the most beautiful
Of all the beautiful things
In this ugly-beautiful world!

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