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The Creative Itch


Ehsan Elahi Ehsan

(Dedicated to Harry Buschman who has suggested the topic)

Please do not laugh at me

I am not talking of that itch

To which your mind has immediately run

Though that is also a creative itch yet

That is of a different type.

I am talking of that creative itch

Which is felt and experienced by the artists

Which makes them so impatient that they do not

Feel at ease until that itch is removed.

That is the creative itch which makes them poets,

Painters, musicians, dancers, sculptures and what not.

I am talking of that urge which instigates an artist

To such an extent that he has to manifest that urge

Into memorable master pieces of art.

It is this creative itch that makes Keats write

Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode to Psyche

Which forces Wordsworth to explore into the very spirit

Of Nature and make it a living force, a guide and a nurse

To man on this earthly life till he recognizes

The soul and the light house from where did he come.

That is the creative itch which takes Coleridge

To the wonder land of Kubla Khan and the Ancient Mariner

This is the creative itch that takes Robert Frost

To take that road which has not yet been trampled

By the travelers looking for their destination.

But, these are only the manifestations of the creative itch

What is the creative itch itself, it is a too difficult question

For me because I am a man of short wits even unable

To understand what Aristotle says of the imitation being

An urge to interpret, represent and reproduce

What has been thought, observed, felt and experienced by

The artist and what has he imagined of the things, universe, man and God

With some tinge of reality and more of the beautiful colouring

Which are visioned by him through his inward eye.

But what is that inward eye, what is that vision,

No harm trying to understand it in spite of my short wits.

This creative itch in an artist is a gift from God

This is bestowed upon those persons who are blessed

With hyper sensitivity and have the capability

To translate this hyper sensitivity into different forms

Of art that teaches and delights the human beings.

When people are elated by this new kind of awareness

And a superb and most delicate pleasure,

The artist himself feels the same experience twice

First when he created a piece of art and the other

When he received back the exquisite reaction of the people.

I know those people who negate the existence of God

Would try to evade this arguments, yet no harm,

They would admit that some people are gifted with this gift

More than the ordinary persons irrespective of the fact

Who gifted them so. This creative itch is the sense

That makes the artist feel that he has to contribute something

Important to human knowledge and happiness.

This is an urge within the chosen men,

Which forces them to interpret life, its pleasures and sorrows

Its journey and destination in their ecstatic condition

Of which Plato was the first to speak though to degrade the artist

This is mainly the imaginative quality which distinguishes

An artist from the people of the mundane world.

And this is what the greatest of all poets and dramatist Shakespeare

Spoke of when he said, " The Lunatic, the lover and the poet

Are of imagination all compact

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold

That is the mad man. The lover, all as frantic

Sees Helenís beauty in a brow of Egypt

The poetís eye, in a fine frenzy rolling

Both glances from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven

And, as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poetís pen

Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name."

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