After great pain a formal feeling comes —
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs —
The stiff Heart questions was it, He, that bore,
And Yesterday–or Centuries before?
The Feet, mechanical, go round —
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought —
A Wooden way
A Quartz contentment, like a stone —
This is the Hour of Lead —
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow —
First — Chill — then Stupor — then the letting go —
There are times when pain is the artist’s teacher. Emily Dickinson expresses that in her great poem, After Great Pain. Keats, having studied medicine for seven years at ancient, prestigious London hospitals, succumbing to tuberculosis, did “not go gentle into that good night.” He prophetically lamented: “When I have fears that I may cease to be/…
Two young artists, dying of malignancies recently channeled their pain and foreboding into great, but sadly, obscure art. Their creations are our teachers and need no facile words. Their art is poetry, sans words.