In the Eye of the Beholder
Sublime with awe, the Artist bent
To brush the final touch.
Each atom sang its own delight,
Bound beauty to its dust.
His masterpiece whirled sphere in sphere
Complex with vital noise.
He breathed in beauty, basked in light,
And taught the dancers joy.
His theatre had a double stage,
A double audience:
He, the first who gazed and laughed;
The other, innocence.
His pleasure had a double source
Until pathetic sin
Smeared black on art and audience
In atheistic pain.
And then the Artist had to shrink
From His eternal size
Down to an ugly miniature
He squashed His vast aseity
In ordinary skin
And wore a common body
Never fair to Him.
His eyes grew dull on monochromes
Fertile, flat and dull.
A topographic monotone,
And then His sacrifice grew sharp
With hues of blood and pain.
His suffering knew ugliness,
His vision red and stained.
He made libation of His art
And His aesthetic eye
As well as of His breath: the fair
En-graved when He died.
Then He descended to a vault
Where opposites are kept,
Where comeliness is chaos, where
His tears went when He wept.
The artwork in that gallery
Was torture to His hurts,
For each piece was a parody
Of His perfected works.
There, He starved for want of light;
And more, for beauty’s death,
And closed His eyes, and shut His ears,
And every artist wept.
And so a silence grew. It spread
To every studio.
For three days inspiration ceased
While He lay in the cold.
At dawn on Sunday, someone read
A story with an end,
And leapt up to his drawing-board,
Seized pencils, and began.
He drew a sunrise, and a tomb
With nobody inside.
He heard a noise and turned around:
The Artist was alive!
The great Creator stood and smiled
With upraised, wounded hand.
The wonder was, He gave the art
To that inspired man.
Which came first? The prophecy,
The painting, or rebirth?
And which will last: these joyful tears,
Or new creative work?