Is Michelangelo Right?

From Allan Cox Week 47
Learning Is Your Dance Of Life 1. Some of our best learning is unlearning—when we learn what we thought was true, isn’t. 2. Some of our best knowing is not knowing—when we have “beginners mind.” 3. “I am still learning.” Michelangelo at age 87. 4. Learners are the best teachers. 5. Often our best answer to life is a question. 6. Dialog is learning. 7. Silence is learning

Photograph by Cher Cox

Dancers I have a set of bookends fierce in their reach. I see and feel them as Icons—real ones—Spiritual. Their texture is rough to the hand—cold, heavy black steel castings. Identical. Naked, looking-to-be Giacometti men with slim muscular bodies. Bookends keep books in—keep them from sliding; falling over, making a mess. That’s their work, applying pressure.

These do more than that, though, you’ll see. They are seated firmly, solemn eyes outward, buttocks against the books, backs leaning straight, legs crossed at the ankle, left over right. Opposites, you know the look; in one you see his sole, the other his locked ankle. maximum force would be both feet planted on the shelf, bracing, no give—back and upper arms tense. Yet they’re not relaxing—crossed legs almost always betray angst—and there’s a shading of movement here, man and book intermingled, both tension and a drawing upon mutual support—for now, most supplied by the men. Listen, though, for these men are journeymen—as St. Paul was a tent-maker for hire—producers, adequacy known and paid for when I brought them home from the store. But more—much more lies in wait for them—as it was with St. Paul, by leaning on the books as he leaned on the knee of Gamaliel— his teacher . . . Through their backs---that precious contact—their leaning strength of inquiry, and belief, from just this bent, they draw out into their pores wisdom, ease, patience, and rise when I sleep, to live, and dance the teaching, and the Word and Art become one, giving me yet another chance.

Allsn’s new book coming May 1. 2012

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful