Not Beautiful

Abse, Dannie

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Woodcock, John
  • Date of entry: Aug-17-2001


The doctor-speaker sets himself against "saintly" people who always "find the beautiful" in death and disasters. Allowing their "good point," he sides with the view that such things are "not beautiful." He ends with a strongly worded paradox: "[S]ometimes, I think that to curse is more sacred / than to pretend by affirming. And offend."


Abse here weighs in on the metaphysics of mortality. It makes a good contribution to a discussion of how doctors and nurses respond personally to the illness, injury, and death their profession exposes them to.

Primary Source

Literature and Medicine 3: 46 (1985)


Johns Hopkins Univ. Press

Place Published