He lives in his hobbit’s shell
admiring the view
from the hotel room.
Having not ventured out since his wife passed.
As he wearily takes out a pen,
he sketches the city scape.
Watching people in crowds
like empty shoals of clouds
without name or number.
He’s getting older.
Dreams of stardom are more
like fading passengers, the world
a silent stage on which he was born.
As he draws comfort from his painting,
he wonders at the point of art and what good it has done.
Then suddenly his heart attacks itself.
He’s in an ambulance within minutes, feels like hours.
The ambulance woman talks.
He says he was an artist once.
She takes out his canvas.
‘This is a masterpiece’ she says.
There are tears in his eyes.
Too late now.
When he finally recovers his strength in hospital,
his work is sold in galleries across the world.
The fortune pays for his care.
Glancing at a photo of Alice, his departed wife,
he thinks, ‘You were right
In the end art does pay.’
Not just financially, for that he is lucky.
But for the joy it gives him and others.
So next time you think of scoring out a poem, picture or story,
find belief that art matters, as a therapy, joy and treasure
and as a way of uniting each other.