Narrative Poems - Poems For Narrative

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Genius - Poem by gershon hepner

Genius is a solitary
business. To whom can you liken
artists, craving our idolatry,
every one a godlike icon?

Pity of the self may be
perfect as the price of art,
paid by idle men unfree,
psyche-sickened in their heart

Talent is the legal tender
artists offer when they barter
homage to themselves and render
intercession like a martyr.

Idols they produce are mantic,
worshipped by the ones who purchase
resumes of the romantic
dreams that rationalize their urges.

This poem’s primary influence is Deutero-Isaiah’s polemic against idol-makers in Deutero-Isaiah Isa.46: 5–7, itself a polemic against the narrative of creation Genesis 1:
To whom will you liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?
Some pour out gold from the bag, and weigh silver in the balance. They hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a god. They fall down-yes, they worship.
They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it, and set it in its place, and it stands, from its place it shall not move: yes, one may cry to it, yet it can not answer, nor save him out of his trouble. Also inspired by an article on the exhibition “Rebels and Martyrs” in the National Gallery London by Alan Riding in the NYT, July 27,2006 (“When Anguish Among Artists Became Both Respected and Expected”)
When exactly did artists decide that they were different from ordinary mortals, that in all likelihood they were superior to the rest of us? Or, viewed differently, when were they granted such a privileged status? When did Western societies start venerating them as sensitive, misunderstood geniuses? For a long time, it seems, being a great artist — a “skilled manual worker, ” as Samuel Johnson put it — was enough. For Bach and Mozart, for Rembrandt and Titian, even for Shakespeare, their art was their job. Their output was valued, but in a social order dominated by church, royal court and wealthy patrons, their standing was not high. Then came the Romantic movement, and with it, artists turned from pleasing the world to indulging themselves: they rebelled against conventions, proclaimed their uniqueness, disdained the bourgeoisie as philistine, savored their own melancholy and formed cliques. Many also chose a bohemian lifestyle to exhibit their otherness.
How this change came about is explored in “Rebels and Martyrs: The Image of the Artist in the 19th Century, ” an entertaining exhibition at the National Gallery in London through Aug.28. It addresses only painters (as well as Rodin) , but the shadow of Byron, Goethe, Baudelaire and other writers is never far away. And, perhaps most intriguingly, it shows how the Romantic artist still influences the image of the artist today. “In our oh-so-civilized society, it is necessary for me to lead the life of a savage, ” Gustave Courbet, the 19th-century French painter, noted theatrically. “To do that, I have just set out on the great, independent, vagabond life of the bohemian.” But there is also anguish. “The more I am spent, ill, a broken pitcher, ” Vincent van Gogh, the quintessential suffering artist, wrote, “so much more am I an artist, a creative artist.”
Linda reduced this poem to eight lines:

Genius is a solitary business to whom can you liken
artists craving our idolatry, everyone a godlike icon?
Pity of the self may be the price we have to pay for art
Idly hoping we may free psyches sickened by the heart.

Talent is the legal tender artists offer when they barter
homage to themselves and render intercession like a martyr;
idols they produce are mantic, worshipped by us when we purchase
Interpretation of romantic dreams, that rationalize our urges.


Comments about Genius by gershon hepner

  • Rookie Gina Onyemaechi (7/28/2006 6:55:00 AM)

    I like both your version and Linda's, Gershon, as they're both rhythmic and creatively rhymed. I've also enjoyed this latest slice of biblical background.

    Are we ok again now, Gershy?

    Gina. (Report) Reply

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Poems About Narrative

  1. 201. Genius , gershon hepner
  2. 202. Psalm-41 , Walterrean Salley
  3. 203. Growing Darkness (Rev) , Margaret Alice Second
  4. 204. The Way It's Phrased , Ace Of Black Hearts
  5. 205. Speechless , Sadiqullah Khan
  6. 206. Everything Will Go , Tony Adah
  7. 207. Day Slice , Bill Grace
  8. 208. The Paparazzi Historian - Viii , Sadiqullah Khan
  9. 209. Matrix , Sudeep Sen
  10. 210. Tell Me , hasmukh amathalal
  11. 211. Joseph's Gloss On God , gershon hepner
  12. 212. 2010/06/30 Siren Song (Rev.) , Margaret Alice
  13. 213. Each Morning At The Breakfast Table , gershon hepner
  14. 214. Boredom , gershon hepner
  15. 215. Smooth And Amiable, Opaque , gershon hepner
  16. 216. Mimesis: Morphed Magnetscheibe , Terence George Craddock (Spe ..
  17. 217. To Hope: From Despair , Almedia Knight Oliver
  18. 218. Experience The Divine - Best Gift , Margaret Alice Second
  19. 219. '-Unseen Academicals- 22/11/09 , Margaret Alice
  20. 220. Gnostic Texts , gershon hepner
  21. 221. Deft , gershon hepner
  22. 222. Emulation , gershon hepner
  23. 223. Frankly, My Dear , gershon hepner
  24. 224. Scarlett And Melanie , gershon hepner
  25. 225. Kara Mustafa , gershon hepner
  26. 226. When Life Is Not A Drama , gershon hepner
  27. 227. Sappho The Poetess , Sadiqullah Khan
  28. 228. @ My Liberties , Sadiqullah Khan
  29. 229. A Poem Like Letter To My Faraway Friend .. , nimal dunuhinga
  30. 230. Mimesis: Morphed Magnetic Disks , Terence George Craddock (Spe ..
  31. 231. Diamonds Are Forever , Dilantha Gunawardana
  32. 232. Torquing Torus , gershon hepner
  33. 233. Words Of Wisdom For The Rare Homo Sapiens , Dilantha Gunawardana
  34. 234. Eureka Rings A Bell , gershon hepner
  35. 235. Scripture Of Zen , gershon hepner
  36. 236. Scripture Of The Zen , gershon hepner
  37. 237. Passage Of Love , Dilantha Gunawardana
  38. 238. Darkness Tanka , Chenou Liu
  39. 239. To Rain Like This , Robert Rorabeck
  40. 240. Alankar(Decor) -140 , Indira Renganathan
  41. 241. Open Up Your Wallets... , Lawrence S. Pertillar
  42. 242. Alankar(Decor) -98 , Indira Renganathan
  43. 243. Kulwant Singh Gill As A Poet , Bijay Kant Dubey
  44. 244. Camouflaged Flaws In Reality (Revised) , Margaret Alice Second
  45. 245. The Classics , Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
  46. 246. It Isn'T Traditional , Lawrence S. Pertillar
  47. 247. Triptych , gershon hepner
  48. 248. Which Is; Which Is , Luis Estable
  49. 249. Girl And Gun , gershon hepner
  50. 250. From....Ll , Morgan Michaels
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