How clearly do we see?
"I had in my mind," the old man said,
"What it was I was to say,
But what I had within my head
Could never see the light of day."
He then reclined his head.
I could not ask him why this was,
But only let him continue,
"The story can only be told thus,
For such is its true purview."
He then began it thus.
"A hundred statues stand true and tall
Perfect faces of their moment,
And line they this a beaut'ous hall
And pause and awe they foment."
But the story was not about the hall.
"In each is captured something true
For else they'd hold no beauty,
But each holds a problem new
For such is a statue's duty."
And neither was the story new.
"When a sculptor comes to make
And his is to do the making,
He wants the ancient mold to break
As each figure his art is breaking."
These beauties, do we come to break?
"No, my son, unless he's bent,
The sculptor will not break them
From each to each his eyes they went
To see how one might make them."
And on his story went.
"This sculptor is a man like you,
Great only when he's humble,
He catches glimpses of the True,
And feels his fingers fumble."
And that at least was true.
"He sees the forms and now recalls
Those who invoked their shapes
But narrow now, abridged by walls
Theirs seems the work of apes."
But we're not here to speak of walls.
"But now the rub, the statues' foil
Has to him become quite real
No matter how increased the toil
The counterfeits will steal!"
Was the story about the toil?
"To never make a thing of earth
Iconoclasts will rail
But his job, his call, his life, his worth
In earth-making not to fail."
But what was this thing of worth?
"So set he about to copy true
The forms that he was seeing
Each curve, each arc, each edge, each hue
That hint at beauty's being."
But this did not concern a hue.
"Would he succeed in this old creed
To craft a revelation?
Where is such a lofty deed?
Such a tribulation?"
What were we to say, of such a deed?
"It is undecided if he did
For even if his craft
Was so great and kept amid
Those with whom goodness laughed?"
Was beauty then to be hid?
"There still come the robbers now
To borrow of his forms;
They take all fraud its arts allows
Of head, of legs, of arms."
Who this crime allows?
"Nonetheless with his success
The sign may be renewed;
To the infinite, no less
An addition not eschewed."
A feat, no more, no less.
He his tale now finished here
With an uncertain end
And wiped away a single tear
Away he did me send.
Was it just to cry the tear?