Wednesday, 21 October 2009

His Work is Never Done

As some say, his work is never done.
He produces reams of the stuff.
But not a jot to offer the world.
His goal is omniscience - if only in his chosen domain.
And yet he doesn’t realise this.
At least the proposition is never put.

Never knows enough for the job.
This final book, then that, then another final one.
And then he’ll be remembered for the word.
His critical mind has himself as his target.
Never enough.
Could do better.
Needs to improve this.
Needs to tighten up that.
And then, and then, and then.
But then never comes.
Instead, he grinds on and on.
Oiling already-oiled wheels.
Fuelling a full burner.
And waiting for the day that someone, somewhere, will tell him, Go! (in a masterful voice, of course).
Someone can always do it better than him.
Everyone has a niche or a style he could neither emulate nor copy.
His own niche and style is the wrong niche and the wrong style –
Something that never makes the grade.
Or comes up to the scratch set by others.
So he struggles and works on.
Hour after hour. Day after day.
Until the product is polished, airtight and flawless.
The kind of thing God Himself would produce,
Or at least the great minds that watch his every move.
But it was really lesser men he put on pedestals.
Pedestals built by his own imagination.
Crowned by his many acts of self-effacement
And the magnification of the others’ talents.
He hoped to join the Company of Mediocre Men.
Till then he would play his daily scales
To master the craft of this, that, and the other.
Till the day when the light turned red
And he’d dare expose himself in front of analytic eyes.
Only then could he escape from his self-built solitude.
A solitude in which only he consumed his work.
Only he knew all its hidden secrets.
In this private little world,
The private language he spoke couldn’t tell him he was going right or wrong.
He needed at least one third person to cast an objective glance in his direction.
To say what is true about his stuff.
To say whether or not it deserved to take its place
In the inter-subjective realm outside his flat.
Until that time, he could have been barking up the wrong tree.
Or barking up a whole forest of wrong tress.
And he would never be the wiser.

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