The Art of Writing

Of inspiration

Such moments when mind and matter hold perfect communion,
And wide vistas open to regions hitherto entirely barred,
Will come with irresistible force,
And go, their departure none can hinder.
Hiding, they vanish like a flash of light;
Manifest, they are like sounds arising in mid-air.

So acute is the mind in such instants of divine comprehension,
What chaos is there that it cannot marshal in miraculous order?
While winged thoughts, like quick breezes, soar from depths of the heart,
Eloquent words, like a gushing spring, flow between lips and teeth.
No flower, or plant, or animal is too prodigal of splendor
To be recreated under the writer’s brush,
Hence the most wondrous spectacle that over whelmed the eye,
And notes of the loftiest music that rejoiced the ear.

But there are other moments as though the six senses were stranded,
When the heart seems lost, and the spirit stagnant.
One stays motionless like a petrified log,
Dried up like an exhausted river bed.
The soul is indrawn to search the hidden labyrinth;
Within oneself is sought where inner light may be stored.
Behind a trembling veil truth seems to shimmer, yet ever more evasive,
And thought twists and twirls like silk spun on a clogged wheel.
Therefore, all one’s vital force may be dispersed in rueful failure;
Yet again, a free play of impulses may achieve a feat without pitfall.
While the secret may be held within oneself,
It is none the less beyond one’s power to sway.
Often I lay my hand on my empty chest,
Despairing to know how the barrier could be removed.

Shih-hsiang Chen