If you figure that science
deals with thought and understanding
deals with the spirit and morality, then
only art adds something hard,
some tangible reality
to these issues. I mean,
along with their emotions, artists
worry about their canvas
and film stock and manuscripts and
and acoustics – hands-on art issues – while
for understanding life limit themselves to
heady thinking and hot air talk.
These issues in the framework
of art embody themselves
in a nuts-and-bolts kind of way.
Real art – not socialite art
or fill-in-the-blanks commercial
art – lays down a kind of
yellow brick road. Only this yellow
brick road doesn’t end
at some fantasy green city. Art lays
down a yellow brick road
that goes from the person’s self through all
the dark woods and misadventures
that lead to reality.
Plants grow upward, and, less obviously,
plants grow toward a light.
Differentiated cells of a plant,
each doing its own
business, more or less alone,
perform this phototropism.
The tissuey cellulose
of human events grows, too, and
history grows in its own direction,
to its own tropic.
We differentiated ones
muddle through our business, more
or less alone,
living this less-than-obvious tropism.
History – this milkweed,
this beanstalk – germinates, grows, seeds, dies.
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