Up high in a ruined castle tower,
amidst riches ill-spent and torn,
the two creatures face each other.
And neither can say who is more
beauty, and who more beast.
He or she, both slendered by
the scattered light touching each.
In the fractured gleam each tries
to surmise whose distorted face
demands more love for its adoring,
more patience and more grace.
The firelight goes on unmooring
steadiness from the narrow room,
pressing its uncertainty on them.
Neither can say in this gloom
who needs love more – but then
no one ever said they needed to know,
since love readies love, and bends
its ways in lover and beloved both,
and none can say who is more loving,
and none who is more loved.
Love lights to us our ugliness, proving
how only it can make us more beautiful.

by Anne M. Carpenter