The poem The Artist is part of a collection of six poems entitled Poems in Prose. This is the first of this series that was published in 1894. The poem was written by Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900).
This is poetry at its finest. The modern-day prose is greatly inspired by these words of Oscar Wilde. In turn, Wilde was inspired by others, such as Charles Baudelaire. This type of poetry were the first steps in the genre of free verse.
In his poem, Wilde plays with these impressive thoughts about the shortness of life and the way we should take into the notion that there is more: eternity or perpetuity. He also shows us that from pain certain beautiful things can come forward. It can be the generator of creativity.
Wilde uses the night as a metaphor. This is the time when the world is dark and this made it possible for the artist to generate this idea. At that time, the artist only thought about bronze and searched for this material. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any to be found, except for the bronze he found in the tomb of the death thing he most loved. From there on, he was able to shape the image of The Pleasure that abideth for a moment. Where that abideth is nothing more than the patience it took, to shape the image he needed.
One evening there came into his soul the desire to fashion an image of The Pleasure that abideth for a Moment. And he went forth into the world to look for bronze. For he could only think in bronze.
But all the bronze of the whole world had disappeared, nor anywhere in the whole world was there any bronze to be found, save only the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that endureth for Ever.
Now this image he had himself, and with his own hands, fashioned, and had set it on the tomb of the one thing he had loved in life. On the tomb of the dead thing he had most loved had he set this image of his own fashioning, that it might serve as a sign of the love of man that dieth not, and a symbol of the sorrow of man that endureth for ever. And in the whole world there was no other bronze save the bronze of this image.
And he took the image he had fashioned, and set it in a great furnace, and gave it to the fire.
And out of the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that endureth for Ever he fashioned an image of The Pleasure that abideth for a Moment.
— Oscar Wilde
More of Wilde’s work
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