In the minds of many, great art comes from deep passions. What if love itself is the art?
There is no pretense here of moral superiority, only an unquenchable desire to seek the moral fabric of the universe. I write of morality from passion, not from superior achievement.
love: a commitment to act in the welfare of another, or the welfare of all
It gets tiresome correcting false impressions about love, so it falls to writers to find terms with similar meaning, but perhaps more precise. Panting after flesh is lust, affection is general positive regard, and sacrifice is the highest expression. Agape is a nice Greek word borrowed by Christian theologians to label a willingness to give all for the sake of something more important than life. Then there’s cathexis and infatuation. Things we blame on love are frequently from other causes.
The primary means of identification is not even the results, since none of us is so perfectly able to do what we really would like to do all the time. So we are left regarding love as art, something which needs examination with something other than mere intellect or we’ll miss it.
I can splash pigment on a surface, but I’m not sure you would say I can draw or paint. I can tell you I sing, but you’d have to hear it. I’m actually better at leading singing than performance itself. And some seem to think I can write, because this blog does get some traffic. But it all means nothing if you don’t find in it something of the emotional warmth, the spiritual passion behind it.
One doesn’t simply be an artist, nor simply produce artwork. One does art as an expression of commitment and burning necessity. I seek the artistry of love itself.
When hatred sleeps and brighter passions awake
and human differences fade to shadows,
then sanity surfs the winds to take
bright souls to worlds no one knows.
It was not exactly a routine, but predictable enough he could save up his words during the sweltering days behind the welding helmet. During the breaks he would type was much as he could, or sit and savor the meaning of something which hadn’t yet spoken its name to him. As he expected, delays in this or that part of the job gave him a chance to see the big town in daylight.
While most of his workmates wasted money on wine, women and souvenirs, he explored the places where such things weren’t found. The garish paint and impromptu murals, the anguished slogans against yet one more brutal government, and the sweet music of people just trying to make another day fed his fires. Then, in the reflected glow of the welding torch, flying sparks brought yet more words.
Every evening he ate at the buffet, and after the first three nights the hookers left him alone. Then he took a bottle and headed out on the sands. By walking down along where his feet got wet, he avoided most of the wallowing bodies in the primary trade the workmen bought in the village. Where the sand strip ended at the rocks, he had found a slender few hand and toe holds to climb the stone face. Somewhere up on a promontory there was a flat spot big enough he could lie down with room to spare.
Most of the time he simply sat and contemplated in the quiet breeze. It was as if nothing filled him, nothing sated his hunger as that quiet. It was a place where his words slept just long enough for him to take something in, instead of spilling over.
So it came almost as a shock to him when he heard the hard breathing of someone coming up the rock face after him that evening. He had only just settled for a few minutes when the sound drifted up to him. He watched, a bit worried it was some determined prostitute. What he saw was long hair, alright, but a body too small for even the tiny women around here. The last hand hold was just too far for her small hand to reach. He instinctively reached out and pulled her up.
She said in surprisingly clear English, “Thank you, sir.”
He slid back and gave her room. She sat near the edge with her legs crossed. Not very pretty, and her stained clothing matched the calluses on her bare feet. He decided to risk testing her English a bit. “To what do I owe this pleasure, miss?”
“I overheard someone calling you a poet, and I wanted to speak with you, sir.”
She couldn’t have been more than twelve, and he thought more likely nine. “It’s hard to shake a bad reputation.” He grinned. “What could be so important you would chase a poet up on some wet rocks in the dark?”
“Mostly, I just wanted to speak with someone more likely to use proper English, so I could sharpen my skill. Among all these visitors from America, most of them sound too much like the silly TV soap operas.”
He threw his head back and laughed out loud. His body shaking with mirth, he turned to her perfectly serious face and realized there had to be at least one child prodigy in every village. She slowly smiled, and waited for him to recover. In just a few minutes, he forgot he wasn’t still at college. Only her size kept him in touch with reality, as the conversation ran on into the night. Their discussion wandered over literature, philosophy, other languages. They never touched until it was time to retreat back down the rock face, when he had to help her down. She turned to wave as she strode off down the beach.
For once, he stumbled back to the tent after a late night with a girl on the beach.