Driving I-95 S. With Michelango.

Thursday. I’m heading south on I-95 to Manhattan. 5:45 am.  Pre-rush hour, traffic moving smoothly.

I’m swept back to an evening in December at the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art: Michelangelo. Divine Draftsman & Artist.

My eyes pan the exhibit brochure…he was called Il Divino (“the divine one”)…the exhibit presents a stunning range and number of works…133 of his drawings, three of his marble sculptures…his wood model…his earliest paintings..the exhibition presents his stunning range.

I set down my wine glass on a tray.  And, separate myself from the group.

My ears catch the sound of my footfall on the marble floors as if to scold: “Slow down Jack. You are in the presence of a God.”

I slow my pace and pause in front of a marble sculpture. His hands built this, what, 500 years ago? This Man, Michelango, created this. He was a Man, just like you. You, a Hu-Man, just like him.  And, what did you do this week?

  • Drove to work. Didn’t get lost.
  • Fired up my computer.  Sent several hundred emails.
  • Shared Mary Oliver poetry (again) and a photo of a cute puppy;  cut, pasted and hit Publish.
  • Sat in a large number of meetings. Even added value in a handful.
  • Had breakfast, dinner, lunch. Weighed myself. Managed to only gain 2.5 lbs.

I pause in front of his drawing (shown above): “Drapery Study for the Erythraean Sibyl on the Sistine Ceiling. Brown wash and pen and dark brown ink, over black chalk.” My eyes can’t release from the drapery. The detail. The cloth. The shading. The hundreds of lines, vertical, horizontal, diagonal – all to produce this. Intoxicating.

I’m lost in Il Divino’s canvas dragged 500 years back, rubbing my thumb and forefinger together ever so gently in a slow circular motion. Smooth, silk, drapery. I shiver.

I need to get out of here.

I need to get home.

I’ll be late for the finals of The Voice.


Inspired by: “But to write this way, to live this way, takes courage. I have an uncle who’s a great reader of poetry, and I shared Jack Gilbert’s work with him. He said he didn’t like him, and I asked why. My uncle said, “I like the poems, but I don’t like the way the poems make me feel I haven’t lived a brave or interesting enough life.” That’s the pain and pleasure of reading Gilbert. He offers an uncompromising challenge to his readers: Make the very most of your life, no less. In this, he holds up a model of something I would so love to be. Sometimes I brush up against in it sideways ways, and then skirt away from it again—because I long for security and affirmation more than I long for the purity of a life spent in examination of the poetic mysteries. “Do you have the courage to be a poet?” Gilbert asked the graduate student, after all. We need courage to take ourselves seriously, to look closely and without flinching, to regard the things that frighten us in life and art with wonder. We tend to surround ourselves with the things that make us feel safe, but can then wall us in. We’re aspirational, we’re ambitious, we’re insecure, we want comforts. Live bravely when you’re young, we say. And maybe again when you retire, if you play your cards right.  Jack Gilbert refused that argument: No, I’m just going to live that way every single day of my life, thanks. And he did, by all accounts.

~ Joe Fassler, The ‘Stubborn Gladness’ of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Favorite Poet (The Atlantic, Nov 6, 2013)

Comments

  1. David, some of your posts draw me into your life…like you post-surgery naked honesty (pun intended). However, today’s presses me into MY life…an uncomfortable, but oh so necessary, place to spend some time.
    I hope you are continuing to recover.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know don’t you, that to compare yourself to Michelangelo or DaVinci or Einstein, etc is unfair. Rather, consider the lives you touch – and there you may see how remarkable you are. I mean it, pal.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Ditto what Mimi said.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Had to chuckle about how you put things into perspective. There’s a reason they call those guy “the masters.” They had talents most of us don’t. They were amazing though!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. WMS, WMS!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. we each create and share our art in our own way – you most certainly do

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What was your greatest accomplishment according to your answers o the Proust questionnaire?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Living consciously and with intent each day, is a practice and a gift. It doesn’t really matter what you do, but how you do it. A great reminder Mr K 👏🌈

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Joe Fassier writes about “…a life spent in the examination of…poetic mysteries…”
    Frank Sinatra sings…..”That’s Life….”
    Michelangelo exquisitely captures still-life in rock and on paper.
    James Brown says, “So Good. So Good!”
    Truth endures…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. l wanted to fly up to the ceiling to see the brush strokes in his paintings at the Sistine Chapel last fall. Incredibly beautiful. His works leave a lasting impression… but there is no need to compare 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes. You’re really not finished here until you give credit to your Artist. We should be the LAST ones to tally all the ways. You know. You know you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. David, we have to stop this…. you lead me astray, day by day…. This is now at a point where I don’t even read your posts any longer until I know I have an hour free of other commitments because I will start to search your references, watch the available vids, read everything of interest around your chosen theme…
    This post here is surely in the top 10, I’ve had access to so many of my own experiences, for instance a visit a long time ago of the Carrara village and my desolation over many small shops closed down and my resolution of no longer wishing for anything with marble (my interest was awake since childhood as some of my parents first Italian friends were from Carrara, and later on I met more ppl from there, some of whom worked there, etc), of having been the total fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing, when I first read EPL and then devoured her next books (and film) to now being totally cold to her as she obviously wasn’t honest with herself for most of the time, but then discovering ANOTHER Gilbert who I now will have to ‘discover’…. the list is endless and one could nearly forget YOUR post over all of this. It’s a despairing situation really, but I DO thank you, really, I do. You keep me wide awake, interested (as if my life had ever, ever been less than fascinating, full of wonders and disappointments but mostly wonderful) and I MUST stop now because there is a life outside of DK!
    Love, and HOW ARE YOU?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Smiling. You are so great Kiki. I am at 80% and getting better. Thank you.

      As to Jack Gilbert, don’t miss this:

      Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
      are not starving someplace, they are starving
      somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
      But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
      Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
      be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
      be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
      at the fountain are laughing together between
      the suffering they have known and the awfulness
      in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
      in the village is very sick. There is laughter
      every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
      and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
      If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
      we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
      We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
      but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
      the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
      furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
      measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
      If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
      we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
      We must admit there will be music despite everything.
      We stand at the prow again of a small ship
      anchored late at night in the tiny port
      looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
      is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
      To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
      comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
      all the years of sorrow that are to come.

      ~ Jack Gilbert, A Brief for the Defense in Collected Poems (Knopf, March 13, 2012)

      Liked by 1 person

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