Crafting Gentleness

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Daedalus, The Maker

Daedalus, The Maker
(for Seán Lucy)

Dactylos was silent and impersonal;
hidden behind false names, he achieved
a powerful persona. There was only
his work; a chipping of rock into form
and the rhythmic riveting of bronze,
diminishing his need for company.

Learning to keep silent is a difficult
task. To place Art anonymously at
the Earth's altar, then to scurry away
like a wounded animal, is the most cruel
test-piece. A proud maker, I have waited at
the temple doors for praise and argument.

Often I have abandoned an emerging form
to argue with priests and poets -
only to learn the wisdom of Dactylos:
that words make the strangest labyrinth,
with circular passages and minotaurs
lurking in the most innocent lines.

I will banish argument to work again
with bronze. Words, I have found, are
captured, not made: opinion alone is
a kind of retreat. I shall become like
Dactylos, a quiet maker; moving between
poet and priest, keeping my pride secret.

Thomas McCarthy

"Why I write" (an essay by the poet):

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