Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Third Picture


The Idea waits in a seeing-place: this means the boy's seeing has matured.  Ten years of study have had their effect.  So has the act of following the traces.  Now, says Pu-ming, the boy's eyes are "properly directed," his ears keen and alert, his senses in "harmonious order."

And so he sees.  Not the words of another, not some markings in the mud, but the Idea itself.  There, out in the open, grazing peacefully, ready for the taking.   "The splendid head decorated with stately horns--what painter can reproduce him?" asks the poet.  How will the oxherd find the words?

The Idea senses the boy's presence, feels his eyes upon its back.  It turns and looks, its black fur glistening.  This is the One in whom I will be born, it thinks, the One to give a dumb ox voice.  It lets the boy approach and feels a tether slipping through its nose.  This is the moment of revelation: the boy "gets" the Idea.  A sudden breeze stirs up the willows at the river's edge.


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