For my daughter, Sweeping

Murakami was a drama major who,
Working at a record store,

Joyce, Hornby and Tolkien,
Later Rowling,

All taught class while
Reading Melville

Spent his days covered
In the entrails of beasts

Were born of and
Born of and born of
Our most distant ancestors
Single-celled organisms
Gasping for light
From the one star
Which was directly
For everything afterwards.

Very little great art
Was made by those
Who studied that art.

All great art
Was made by those
Who lived deeply.

You think, I assume,
That I don’t respect
That I belittle
Art as its own pursuit.
Rather, I want you to
Pursue everything.

Sweeping the floors
Of the record store
Of the classroom
Of the boat
Is noble,
Is worthy,
And gives you time
To think about
Everything else.

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