I mastered mazes. Now I’ve made us wings
That will transcend my knack for complication.
There’s just no medium for art
Like air—the tool and arm apart
No more, the dream of every master mason.
Work and freedom aren’t separate things.

You see what I am doing, son?
A rhythmic beating, level with the heart,
Will float us far above all mazes.
Fountaining arrows will fail to graze us,
Sleeved and saved by daring art.
Now help me paste these feathers on.


No maze is so well-worked with ways as flight.
Up there, son, every way is open.
To wear these wings, we must
Be dead to pride, dead to the lust
For exaltation. Don’t go up there hoping
To taste the fire fruit of light.

Remember, even eagles have an upper bound.
A God may bend to kiss you, or be kissed,
But if you soar into his solar iris
You’ll feel how hot his ire is.
My art will burn away like mist,
And your only way out of the maze will be down.

Edvard Munch, The Sun, oil on canvas, ca. 1911. Artwork from WikiArt (public domain).