Fame in my hair


One of my customers is an old painter.  Today he showed me one of his little sketchbooks.  The tiny page he showed me was full of swirls, like nebular galaxies, but as I looked at it, I saw that each arm of the galaxy was composed of smaller swirls, and I also saw that he used a different kind of line for each arm of the galaxy.  I didn’t know lines could be so expressive.  Each arm of the galaxy was so different, but there was a unity in the galaxy.  One part looked like a Renaissance drawing of the night sky, another part looked like a Hudson River School artist depicting a wave composed of tiny rivulets.  The page he showed me was no more than three inches by three inches, but I looked at it and saw more detail the longer I looked.  It was hypnotizing.  I told him he’s the real deal.

I then asked him if anyone has ever done a documentary on him, and he said that no-one yet has.  I told him that he deserves a documentary, and much more fame.  He responded by saying, “As long as my art-spirit is happy and I am productive, that’s all I care about.”

So I recited the following poem that includes the word “fame”:

Earth-grief burnt his body’s frame

He nodded his head several times as I recited it.

He then said, “I was a given a garden to take care of, and as long as I cultivate the garden and take care of it, and as long as the actual owner of the garden is happy, I don’t have to worry.”

This is not the statement from some hack, but these are the words of someone who has some real intuitive vision.

Sri Chinmoy writes in his book The Street Beggar:

“When we look at life,

It frightens us.

When we look into life,

It surrenders.”

This is a man who has looked into life.  I deeply value our conversations.  I feel fortunate to know him.

Before he left he told me a story about a great poet who Fame did not favor in his lifetime.  He saw Fame walking through the streets of the city wearing other poets’ words in her hair, but she never wore his poems in her hair.  One day he accosted her and said, “Why do you wear these other poet’s words in your hair, but you do not wear mine, when my poems are far superior, and will last forever?”

She smiled and said, “I will visit you in the cemetery in a hundred years, and you will see that I will be wearing your poems in my hair.”

The Master once wrote “With whatever I have I shall run.”

Who cares if others do not appreciate your vision and manifestation?  Just offer what you have.


Here’s a piece by one of my favorite American painters, John Singer Sargent.  It is called The Jetty and makes me think of journeys.  This is relevant to my life now.


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