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Friday, 14 August 2009
So, how should it be?
I asked a man with a knife in his hand
what shape should I give to my art?
The answer's not clear, young laddie, I fear.
Now take this sharp knife, it could end a man's life,
but the life it would shape would be mine.
So spake the man with the knife in his hand.
Then I asked a man in a miller's hat,
how fine should I grind down my art?
Should the texture be rough or should it be smooth?
Like dust or large grit, doesn't matter a bit,
but please don't grind it away, dear heart,
said the man in the miller's hat.
Next I asked of a pair in each other's embrace:
are art and love both sent from heaven?
They stopped for a moment... well, would you believe?
Both rule with a rod of iron, said he;
Each is as soft as a flower, said she;
as they each resumed at triple the pace.
So I asked the girl with the JCB
what land art could offer an artist like me.
Should I build mountains or fill in the sea?
Don't move too much, keep the mystery.
The faith to retain the shape of a tree
is what the world needs just now,said she.
Then I asked a man with balls of brass,
should my art be vague or cut like glass?
Should I worry about how long it will last?
What matters, old cock, is you pick up your fee,
the people will see what they want to see,
said the man with the balls of brass.
I asked a lady with tutti-frutti,
should art be cerebral, very profound?
Or should it retain its taste for beauty?
There's beauty in thought, not to mention in sound.
It's not just the eyes make the world go round,
said the lady eating the tutti-frutti.
Then I asked a man with a bag of tools,
should art be free or bound by rules?
Should it belong to one of the schools?
Total freedom, he said, is one for the fools.
If you do not like them, change the rules!
So said the man with the bag of tools.
Next, I asked a woman painting the fence,
should my language be sparse, or should it be dense?
How many words should define each thought?
As many full stops as will make it taut,
As many smells as make a stench,
she said with a laugh as she painted the fence.
Then I asked a man in a driving glove:
how far should I stray down this crazy way,
this unmade road, with my wobbly load?
To the fifteenth pothole beyond the sun
where a cuckoo sings of a critic's love,
said the man who was missing a glove.
I asked of the couple drinking gin:
What sort of state is my art in?
They looked at each other before they replied:
As good as your smile before it died;
as bereft as any deserted bride.
So said the couple drinking gin!