This is from the discussion forum on RedPaper. You will have to register to read the context, but it seemed such a good demonstration of the value of the arts to all of us, not jus the critics and others who make a living from it, that I asked the writer for his permission to post it here.
I can recite many poems by various poets off the top of my head. I have sonnet 18 by Shakespeare crammed away somewhere between my ears. I used to work in a bikini store down in the Keys (I loved that job). The manager was moving away and was training me for the position. she used to have to bring her 3 year old daughter, Savannah, in with her sometimes as she couldn't afford a baby sitter and her husband worked long hours out on the fishing boats. One day we had little business and I was entertaining the little girl while her mother did the books. I decided to start reciting Shakespeare to her....
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"
"Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. "
I was in awe that this three year old had actually sat wide eyed and listened to me recite the whole poem. I was expecting to maybe get through three lines.
when I was done she ran over to her mother, threw her hands in the air like she was making a big circle and said "Mommy mommy, sometimes the sun comes out... and ... and... its big and pretty."
I recited some of my poetry to Savannah too, three lines in she was back to drawing on the back of the counter with a crayon.
Kurt Erhard Berger