Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The White Elephant

So writers are wondering what to do with their gift. Their calling. Their avocation. The pull that art has over life. And, naturally, its opposite. The money we make and don't make. The people we love who won't shut up.

See if you don't adore this stanza from a Jack Gilbert poem as much as I do --

When the King of Siam disliked a courtier,
he gave him a beautiful white elephant.
The miracle beast deserved such ritual
That to care for him properly meant ruin.
Yet to care for him improperly was worse.
It appears the gift could not be refused.