another praxis

13Nov09

It’s no secret that I have a preoccupation with understanding the creative process in other artists whose work I admire.  There are practical crossovers in the work of making music and writing and film and many other disciplines.  While we wrestle with different material and limitations, the mind is still our workspace, especially where the mind connects to the hands.  (Maria Montessori argues that the hands are the seat of the intellect).  Here is a poet’s version:

Self-Portrait   by Adam Zagajewski (Translated by Clare Cavanagh)

Between the computer, a pencil, and a typewriter

half my day passes. One day it will be half a century.

I live in strange cities and sometimes talk

with strangers about matters strange to me.

I listen to music a lot: Bach, Mahler, Chopin, Shostakovich.

I see three elements in music: weakness, power, and pain.

The fourth has no name.

I read poets, living and dead, who teach me

tenacity, faith, and pride. I try to understand

the great philosophers–but usually catch just

scraps of their precious thoughts.

I like to take long walks on Paris streets

and watch my fellow creatures, quickened by envy,

anger, desire; to trace a silver coin

passing from hand to hand as it slowly

loses its round shape (the emperor’s profile is erased).

Beside me trees expressing nothing

but a green, indifferent perfection.

Black birds pace the fields, waiting patiently like Spanish widows.

I’m no longer young, but someone else is always older.

I like deep sleep, when I cease to exist,

and fast bike rides on country roads when poplars and houses

dissolve like cumuli on sunny days.

Sometimes in museums the paintings speak to me

and irony suddenly vanishes.

I love gazing at my wife’s face.

Every Sunday I call my father.

Every other week I meet with friends,

thus proving my fidelity.

My country freed itself from one evil. I wish

another liberation would follow.

Could I help in this? I don’t know.

I’m truly not a child of the ocean,

as Antonio Machado wrote about himself,

but a child of air, mint and cello

and not all the ways of the high world

cross paths with the life that–so far– belongs to me.

Advertisements


No Responses Yet to “another praxis”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: