Morgan Meis has written a fine appreciation of Australian Aboriginal art:
In their original manifestations they were enactments of the Dreaming not to be kept but let back into their source knowing that their power had visited us and would certainly return if we could apply ourselves to it. But how? It is a matter of using other means of finding the world, of grasping it with a light fervour.
As though a monk in Clonmacnoise in the scriptorium had looked up from his work and seen a swan landing on the lake. ‘That is just what I need for this space. What do you think Pangur? Ok, yes and a cat too, of course’.
Translated by Seamus Heaney
From the ninth-century Irish poem
Pangur Bán and I at work,
Adepts, equals, cat and clerk:
His whole instinct is to hunt,
Mine to free the meaning pent.
More than loud acclaim, I love
Books, silence, thought, my alcove.
Happy for me, Pangur Bán
Child-plays round some mouse’s den.
Truth to tell, just being here,
Housed alone, housed together,
Adds up to its own reward:
Concentration, stealthy art.
Next thing an unwary mouse
Bares his flank: Pangur pounces.
Next thing lines that held and held
Meaning back begin to yield.
All the while, his round bright eye
Fixes on the wall, while I
Focus my less piercing gaze
On the challenge of the page.
With his unsheathed, perfect nails
Pangur springs, exults and kills.
When the longed-for, difficult
Answers come, I too exult.
So it goes. To each his own.
No vying. No vexation.
Taking pleasure, taking pains,
Kindred spirits, veterans.
Day and night, soft purr, soft pad,
Pangur Bán has learned his trade.
Day and night, my own hard work
Solves the cruxes, makes a mark.