The Artist as Antidote

Another strain, a crazed mutation,
may once again infect the nation
yet convalescing from the last
while still afflicted by the past.

Each fatal plague of ignorance,
indifference, and negligence
adds epidemic misery
to melancholic History,

who rises from her hospice bed
to show the world she's far from dead
then scuffs down sterile whitewashed halls
with trembling hands that feel for walls

and hopes to find a kindly mind
to hear what she now leaves behind
and ask her warnings to be told
to any learner, young or old.

She meets a painter, and they speak.
She breathes her tales with much mystique.
He listens, tries to understand.
One day, with his brush in hand,

he paints what could be medication:
scenes of protest, contemplation
--no imagery to numb the pain
or misuse truth to entertain:

these renderings nurse empathy,
prescribe a raw reality,
a dose against disinformation
to save a life, a generation,

should History pull through the night
and live to see dawn's early light
illuminate new works of art
which might inspire or impart

a fact in some impactful way
or lure a thought toward yesterday
to cure mistakes in progress here
and stem the scourge of lies and fear.

The Artist as Antidote © Copyright 2021, Robert J. Tiess.

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Artist as Curse or Blessing theme challenge prompt - link:

The phrase "dawn's early light" alludes to the opening line of the "Star-Spangled Banner"
Submitted: December 18, 2021