I don’t get the CW, and for once I’m glad.  I’m afraid there would be a terrible temptation to watch the new incarnation of Beauty and the Beast, followed by a bunch of negative emotions that do not belong in the TV watching experience. 

I adore the version from the 1980s. There’s something almost indefinable about that convergence of writing, casting, acting, direction and music.  It has affected me as no other series ever has. 

Beyond the lyrical beauty of the longing for something a mere breath away, yet held apart by chasms of complication, and the novelty of the voiceovers reading from poems and literature that resonate within the context of the stories and on into the darkness of ethereal night, Beauty and the Beast gave me a gift both unexpected and treasured. 

Finally, I understood poetry. 

I had never been a lover of poems.  In fact, they seemed alien and unappealing to me.  A language unlearned, and unlearnable.  An English teacher I once had was so enamored of poetry that it was a near obsession.  She rhapsodized at length about the glories of the lines that she read to the class with such heartfelt passion.  I didn’t get it.  I expected to never get it. 

Once I discovered Beauty and the Beast, it was as if a long-missing key had unlocked a door.  When Vincent and Catherine read the same lines I’d once shrugged aside, I suddenly realized what I’d been missing.  What had been missing every other time I’d heard poetry read, or tried to read it to myself, hoping to force some ah ha moment.  It was so very simple.  Rhythm.  The proper cadence made all the difference in the world.  Once I had this key, I was able to open so many beloved doors. 

I now love Arnold, Wordsworth, Thomas, and my favorite, Rilke, that was another discovery directly from the lips of Vincent, the beast less beastly than many real life creatures who call themselves men.  Read with the proper rhythm, poems began to open up an entirely untapped part of my creativity, and I not only came to love to read poetry but also to write it. A facet to my life that I now cherish might never have come alive. 

It was a single line, wafted softly into the air by Vincent’s velvet rubbed the wrong way voice, that first transformed seemingly simple lines of words into a vision of a faraway land, and made me understand the power of poetry to fuel the imagination and add grace to even the simplest life:

“This city now doth, like a garment, wear the beauty of the morning.”–William Wordsworth. 

Vincent reading Wordsworth on the 1980s television series Beauty and the Beast

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