Sunday, 19 August 2012

George Szirtes (b.29/11/48) - Cultural Directives

As Michelangelo, the great Italian composer,
once remarked: Artists have responsibilities.
Hearing music is like contracting a disease,
a beautiful infection. It brings closer
the point of no return. One must be strong.
There's no such creature as a harmless song.

Painting too, as the English artist Shakespeare
pointed out, can be debilitating
unless you aspire beyond paint to real things.
A painting freezes movement. The eye, like the ear,
is a channel of impotence. Mere airs and graces
often induce an unproductive stasis.

And as for words, I only need quote Mozart,
the Swiss poet: They're tainted by unreason.
Language is discourse, words slippery. To seize one
we must lay traps, as for mice. The throat's part
of the respiratory tract, and you may clip
a speech, like air, by tightening your grip.

Too many of you are wasting your time and ours
with gewhaws, bric-a-brac and frolicking.
It's time to give you all a rollicking.
We're not impressed, I fear, by your endeavours.
The role of the past is to prepare the future
and your task is to welcome it with Culture

Reprinted from
Sing Freedom
Faber and Faber
in production with Amnesty International

Deprivation of Freedom of Expression - Paulo Zerbato

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