After a long life of experience and observation, I have to confess that I don’t really fit into this strangely-fallen world. A square peg in a round hole would be a fitting description, except for the fact that such a peg can still go into a round hole (although a few spaces are left on the outside). So it’s not that such a peg won’t work. It’s simply that it’s not a great fit! But I’m not just talking about the ‘fit’. I guess the best way of putting it is to say that I’ve never really had my legs properly under the table of this world. There is too much revolting stuff on that table which makes me recoil from it. I could never feel comfortable sitting there. So I’m a stander and a watcher.
Thus, despite my joyful feelings at sunsets and smiles, presents and presence, birdsong and bleary-eyed kid-talk, the miracle of music, the way that trees look, a meeting of minds, the diversity of faces, the pregnancy of Spring in Winter, the fact that there are horses, French kisses, atoms, village idiots (bless them), lovemaking and cheesecake, I am still a kind of reluctant visitor to this planet, a hesitant passenger in this cosmos who feels intensely all the pain of humanity, the cries of the weak and oppressed, the heartache of the grieving and unloved, the slow skewering exodus of the terminally ill, the fact that more than five thousand children die pointlessly each day from drinking contaminated water, the futility of countless lives on earth, the narcissistic self-centeredness of so many, the slavery of daily work for the unfulfilled, the sociopathic nature of politics, the ability of most of humanity to be deceived by chicanery and subterfuge, the illusion of “democracy” (just a fancy word for ‘engineered consent’), the abuse of not only the word “love” but also its true nature, the false application of the theory of relativity to human morality and truth, the destructive stupefying controlling nature of religion (as opposed to true spirituality), obeisance to pseudo-authority, the life-stifling blanket of conformity and — last but by no means least — the mind-numbing menace of mediocrity.
Sometimes it is all too much. But I thank God for poetry!
I use the term “poetry” to cover all forms of artistic expression: Music, literature, dance, painting, sculpture, film, photography. In fact, poetry is really anything which chimes like a perfect bell (thus warning and informing and declaring what we need [not want] to know). Poetry is anything which rhymes with the times (thus divulging revealing unveiling the secret heartbeat of creation). Poetry is anything which speaks to our minds about the masterpiece we call the cosmos. Cloud formations, hovering kestrels, whispering angels, all things orchestral. Engineered bridges suspended on high; the sound of life leaving when anything dies. Rocking chairs, rivers and rippling lakes; lanternlike fireflies and longing which aches. A list of this nature could go on and on (and nature’s the word singing poetry’s song).
Hyper-sensitivity is the province of all true artists; but the reason they engage with their art is not to escape the harshness of some distasteful part of reality but to enhance it! One cannot really escape from reality for it is what it is — a bi-product of the creation of life and time. Ask any artist of any kind and s/he will tell you that when they do their art everything begins to make sense — things fall into place — one knows why one is here. That’s what I meant when I said “Thank God for poetry!”
I believe that creative artists are angels in this world (in the true sense of the Greek origin of the word, which is “messenger”). A creative or artistic gift is a privileged one which must never be prostituted in vanity or greed or abused through exploitation. We have that gift in order for us to be messengers of life and love — to encourage, to motivate, to precipitate, to provide eye and ear candy for the soul, to embolden, to catalyse, to confirm, to awaken. The expression of one’s gift of art is not an escape but an enhancement. It makes the world of tumbled dreams a more tolerable place in which to carry on one’s sojourn through this citadel of scrambling souls.
Thank God for poetry!
© 2012, Alan Morrison