Wednesday, April 23, 2014

An Artist's Blessing

An Artist's Blessing

Why would a rich man sweep 
the streets from morning to night,

with a broom that causes his back to bend
over and ache all the time? 

There are people like that around, 
who could live in a garden paradise 
and never know
the common man's suffering,

but instead stay among us,
rolling up their sleeves, 
drawing from the well 
until their hands are blistered
and calloused. 

They might go to sleep for a few hours,
then get up early, 
and pick up their pens, chisels or brushes 

           Are artists spiritually rich? Hafiz seems to believe so, with the high praise this poem encompasses; artists are rich men sweeping the streets who should make us feel blessed because they walk among us. But what does that line mean? Hafiz asserts that the artist does not have to walk among us. The artist can rise above this life just by the very nature of his work. “The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”- Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” ― Émile Zola
Everybody Knows (1988), Leonard Cohen

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