I’ve been thinking about the poem, “In my craft or sullen art” by Dylan Thomas. (3:45 on the video above). I have been reading this poem since my teens. I think it has helped shaped my outlook on aesthetics and my own relationship to art and composition.
When the speaker in this poem says that he labors “Not for ambition or bread Or the strut and trade of charms On the ivory stages,” it helps me understand my inexplicable lack of ambition coupled with a passion for my art.
And when Thomas concludes the poem this way: that he writes “for the lovers, their arms Round the griefs of the ages, Who pay no praise or wages Nor heed my craft or art,” I am reminded of my weird ability to make beautiful music in the presence of people who don’t seem to be paying attention and manage not only not to despise them, but to enjoy their presence while I do what I do.
Yesterday was another full day. In addition to my usual schedule, I took Eileen out to purchase some drinking glasses for today’s meal and pick up her Mini. After choir rehearsal, I weakened and went and purchased gin. There has been no gin in the house for several days. I’m hoping I can continue to cut back on my drinking and snacking as I have been, but last night seemed to be a good night for a martini.
While I was at the liquor store, one of the clerks asked me what I was thankful for since tomorrow was Thanksgiving. I smiled and said, “I’m thankful to be alive.” It’s true.
Ruth Ozeki writes in her novel, For the Time Being, that the “Zen nun Jiko Yasutani told me in a dream that you can’t understand what it means to be alive on this earth until you understand … what a moment is.”
The nun in the dream explains, “A moment is a very small particle of time. It is so small that one day is made of 6,400,099,980 moments… a snap [of your fingers] equals sixty-five moments.. if you start snapping your fingers now and continue snapping 98,463,077 times without stopping, the sun will rise and the sun will set, and the sky will grow dark and the night will deepen, and everyone will sleep while you are still snapping, until finally, sometime after daybreak, when you finish up you 98,463,077th snap, you will experience the truly intimate awareness of knowing exactly how you spent every single moment of a single day of your life.”