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When I was in New York last week, I went to the American Folk Art Museum. One of the pieces that caught my eye was this woodcarving of Matthew the Evangelist by the artist John Perates. He was born in Greece but lived much of his life in Portland, Maine. I’m not a religious person, but I tried to capture what it might be like to create art while feeling divinely inspired. You can click the image to see a larger version.
The Angel and the Eye of God
John makes furniture —
finely cut cabinets,
stout and purposeful bedposts,
tables to hold a family.
He is seeking refuge in this city by the sea,
so much colder than his island home.
Alone in his workshop,
after the orders are shipped,
John puts down the patterns
and turns inward, carving
the wood in the shape of the Word.
He has seen the angel who points
to the eye of God. He has heard
the song of Matthew the Evangelist.
He is not afraid.