Monday, June 14, 2010

"To be a true artist," part 2

Michael Greenberg's Salinger essay, linked to in the post immediately below, reminds me of the poem "To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing," by W.B. Yeats, whose 145th birthday was yesterday:

NOW all the truth is out, 
Be secret and take defeat 
From any brazen throat, 
For how can you compete, 
Being honour bred, with one        
Who, were it proved he lies, 
Were neither shamed in his own 
Nor in his neighbours’ eyes? 
Bred to a harder thing 
Than Triumph, turn away 
And like a laughing string 
Whereon mad fingers play 
Amid a place of stone, 
Be secret and exult, 
Because of all things known 
That is most difficult.


Rodak said...

This, as well as your relating it to Salinger, is so right-on. It helps to know that since one has condemned oneself to dwell in Loserville, one can at least make a valid claim to have chosen the neighborhood--even if the choice is made retroactively.

Pentimento said...

Huh, well said, Rodak.

Rodak said...

Thanks. Probably cribbed from Simone Weil by osmosis--her thoughts on the positive uses of affliction.