Second Audience

Poet, playwright, composer, chef,
devour their oeuvre, callow to penultimate,
a parsed blindness obscures us to the sifted slog of
hidden years: sweat, blood, angst, agony, toil,    

the primitive pieces placed tenuous,                
bit by bit, line by line, word by word,                
small tributaries of tiny tasks, woven                
amid fallow, fruitful, barren wingspans.

Why does the artist return to exacting days?
Spare the spurious comments of fame and fortune
each is no lesser man than you: battling obscurity,
subject to ego, critics praise, rapturous applause.

The artist reoccurs as laborer, apprentice, and 
vassal to the vision in their head while 
the muse, (fickle fiend), hovers as extortionist
(the artist spurns this afflatus in derision).

Remember, second audience, when you feel 
the sweep and sway of the conductor’s arms, 
the rhythmic lilt of the poet’s tongue,
cascading chatter from the playwright’s pen,

sky-slant obtrusions of the architect’s stroke,
the chef’s canvas where palette ignites palate,    
that the artist, when true to the worth of the work,
lifts us, for, through the work, they are lifted themselves.



'Poor?' said Babette. She smiled as if to herself. 'No, I shall never be poor. I told you that I am a great artist. A great artist, Mesdames, is never poor. We have something, Mesdames, of which other people know nothing.'

- 'Babette's Feast', Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard, Isak Dinesen