I can stand for hours gazing at a portrait of great artists and writers I adore. Their gaze is ever so mystically communicative. They always seem to ask me something, and their all-knowing gaze is like they know what I am seeking and my distance from it.
Their gaze talks me of greatness, and taunts me that it isn’t easy to get there. The strictness they depict and discipline they demand get me to stand and stare, as the gaze dashes straight through by ribs and see into my heart. I think of the treasures they left behind; the quotes and the poems, many of whose meanings still lay encrypted; their painted eyes seem still alive with that shine of wisdom. What they stood for all their life, still speaks through their enrapturing gaze.
A long, mindful look at the pictures of these men and women is almost like a reality check – and when the gaze is over, I am filled with awe, but mostly also with a strong tinge of disappointment, for the ignorance and slack seething inside me would be highlighted.
And even though I might roll my eyes over and walk away, the gaze and its voice do not vanish. Not until I’ve scribbled out a poem or sketched out a dream.