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作者: 文坛梦工厂 来源: www.xfmw.cn 时间: 2014-07-30 阅读: 在线投稿
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The Thread of Permanence

By William Zorach

It is strange how certain things make a great impression on us in childhood. I remember these verses by Longfellow:

"Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the graves is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul."

And again:

"Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time."

Of course, my generation was much more sentimental than today's youth but whether this was great poetry, it communicated in simple language a message, and made a lasting impression on a small boy.

When I was fifteen I had an imaginary guardian angel and when I went to the country to sketch on Sundays, I asked for guidance, praying that someday I would be a fine artist and paint nature as beautiful as she really is. What this little ceremony brought me was faith in the world and a belief in myself.

My faiths and beliefs have been badly strained. The Atomic Age has caught us in a web of fear. Our lives seem so impermanent and uncertain. There is such a waste of human potential, of things worth while in people which never find expression. I sometimes think it's a miracle that anything survives. Yet I believe that a thread of permanence runs through everything from the beginning of time, and the most valuable residue will survive.

I believe everybody has an urge to somehow spin his own life into a thread of permanence. It is the impulse of life. Some would call it the drive to immortality. Whatever it is, I think it is good because it gives purpose to existence. But purpose is not enough. Artists are supposed to be notoriously impractical, but for myself, I found I had to make decisions and plans if I were to try to create anything. I realized that I must approach life not only with a sensitivity, a perception of beauty, but with a feeling of humility and reverence.

My creed as an artist is to love life and liberty and the world of people. A man who works and loves his work is often a man dreaming, and the spirit of his dreams will find forms and symbols to express that dream. It is a wonderful feeling to create something. But today, I think there is a lack of power of communication. If people, not just artists, but all kinds of people, could only open their hearts and express their sorrow, their happiness, their fears and hopes, they would discover they had an identity with the main stream of life which they never saw before.

sometimes fear and cynicism so grip our minds that we lose heart. Then I try to remember how the great artists of the ages had the power of expressiveness. Theirs was the power to communicate, to exalt, to move the observer to joy or tears, to strike terror and awe in the hearts of men; not just to decorate or merely entertain.

If we can expand the boundaries of men's thoughts and beliefs, we will discover we all have creative possibilities - talents to make ourselves real identities as individuals, with a hold on the thread of immortality. If we can awaken ourselves to it, I am convinced we shall find that this is an alive and exciting age of adventure and experimentation from which a new beauty and a finer world will emerge.

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