My first teacher told me
that what sculpture involved
was being a God. He was not talking
about the old ways, about fashioning
a man out of a rib.
Out of the earth. A god can see something
that does not exist yet in the world. Who
could have imagined the giraffe,
the octopus, the flounder? Who
could have imagined our sharp sensibilities,
our contortions? The materials
are all there – eyes and blood and respiration,
but still, they get made new. Now I know
that these days such a view
is against science, but the idea of a god is as real
as god is not. A scientist who sees
what has been done
versus one who can make straw out of gold.
Or more like plastic out of petroleum.
Paper out of trees. You
have to decide which kind you will be.
We’re mistaken when we equate the wise
and the prophetic. You’re always
looking either backwards or forwards.
This piece puts you on a precipice.
It’s up to you
which way you fall. You see – it’s all there.
The scientist and the artist were once one –
how else could you record
what you saw? How else, find a way of seeing?
Rebecca Morgan Frank (USA), from The spokes of Venus, Canergie Mellon University Press, 2016 (source Poetry Foundation)
To discover more about the poet: https://rebeccamorganfrank.com/
The cover artwork is a neon installation (and a quotation by Franz Kafka’s The Castle) by collective artists Claire Fontaine, Untitled, 2015, seen at Art Basel (Air de Paris gallery)