Life requires art: a cento

Watch out! Art has been called a frill
by governments and citizens,
who balance budgets, cutting art
without a care. They’ve lost their souls,
and separate their heads from hearts.

Wake up! You tutors pass these laws,
yet forget young folk all start out
enthusiastic creatives;
yank their structured outlets
and they try to fly, but without wings.

Their frustration turns to rage,
which they have no means to contain;
just one fine art could hold it in:
distill it into dance, or paint,
from vitriol, make songs and shapes.

Good teachers know exactly what
it takes to form restraining walls
with strength enough to last until
emotions transmute into art.
That is culture; nothing less.

Poor tutors pass destructive laws
that cut the arts, and will destroy
millenia of work and strife,
civilization grown enough
to dare contain its own vision.

Without the arts, we have no plays
where Caesar is beat down with sticks,
school principals are gunned down instead;
raw instinct, rampant in the street,
turns artists into violent apes.

The spiritual? Morality?
They cease to be, and in their place,
we take the millions stripped from art
and build boot camps
to rehabilitate thugs.

07 DEC 2010

From a passage in “The Maiden King: The Reunion of Masculine and Feminine” by Robert Bly and Marion Woodman

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