The Function of Art

Art is a reason to open the first eye of morning,
And a reason to leave work, in the evening, on time.

Art is the weapon of first resort against injustice,
When law is awry, and of last resort against suicide.

Art is a cockle-shell boat, afloat on the wide seas of banality,
And the only channel that´s on worth listening to.

Art is the last visible chink of Heaven left,
When Hell has brimmed over with other people.

Art is a place to hide, from the relentless jackboot of Reality TV,
And from the bilious game-show of business as usual.

Art is the first scoundrel of the refuge,
And the last haven of its anointed.

Art got onto the cattle trucks with the hopelessly forsaken,
And stayed on till the end, long after God and Hope had got out.

Art is the most addictive of drugs, freely exchanged
Between brothers and sisters in the ghetto of feeling,
But to be pushed cynically on the vacuous children
Of the pathologically vain.

Art is a virus to be eradicated from our schools and playgrounds.
Cruel examples should be made, without mercy, of its peddlers,
Caught corrupting the minds of our impressionable young.

Art makes tolerable the leisure of the lame,
And indeed, the self to the self, of those
Too much afflicted with discourse of self.

Art is my staff and comfort,
Making me to lie by still waters,
When God has left but a fading grin.

Art is something for which I am not too proud to pay the going rate,
But that I shall never bid for, like meat, at auction.
And nor should you.

Art is where we bury the coded messages,
That keeps Hope burning until the dictator´s passing.
And though new dictators will always arise,
All dictators will pass. Art will see to that.

The Spirit of Art remains aloof from the markets,
That have otherwise tagged all things else with their price.
Merchants buy and sell all manner of strange goods,
That they have made to masquerade in its name,
Too sly or unwilling to see
That the mere body of Art
Is Art no longer.

When the Sun has gone down below the dark horizon,
And the rational light can furnish no justification for belief
In future morning or sunrise,
Art is the last bright star of the firmament,
The beacon by which we steer,
To the lost and forgotten
Isles of Humanity.

Art fulfils the needs of its time - "to the Age its Art",
And the needs it fulfils are as a mirror to their times,
And duly change to reflect them.
But whenever it is, those needs are critical
To the understanding of where we have come from,
And how to move forward, through wisdom, to joy.
Perhaps never more so than when
No-one can agree what Art is and is for?
Or if indeed it is for anything at all?

Copyright © John Ferngrove 2009