Yeah, there’s a part of me that thinks I’m crazy. I’m employing people to make things that have no (apparent) economic value. Why? Just cause I like it. There’s a word for that: patronage. This week, my ‘botanical poet in residence’ really had a tough day. In eight hours, he produced four lines. That’s 2 hours per line. Just 23 words, for a whole day of work. 20 minutes per word. Here they are:
I remember kneeling with the trowel,
frozen earth leavening my marrow into silver,
and above, jet exhaust
unzipping the crystal day into dusk.
Do I seem crazy? Listen, I don’t even like poetry. I don’t read it. I don’t get it. I think, all too often, the emperor is wearing no clothes. Maybe this whole enterprise is crazy, but I can’t get that last line out of my head, “unzipping the crystal day into dusk.” I think it’s sublime. They’re just words, common and maybe even mundane. But they’re perfect. They make my heart ache and rejoice at the same time. They tell me life is beautiful in a way that’s so much more meaningful than bluntly saying, “life is beautiful.”
Four lines in one day? But when they’re good lines, they’re worth ever penny…and worth all the struggle it took to rend them out of the author’s gut. It’s such a privilege to be a patron! So I don’t care if you don’t get it. But I don’t blame you either. I’m not sure I even get it. But it is worth it. I really think it’s worth it.