Thursday, August 20, 2009

L'Antica Rete

The painters had made it seem

as though Beauty was soft,

So, I suffered a modern affliction--

Passed to me (father to son to father and so on)--

That caused me to look at such jaundiced images

As if they were not really upside down.

And, like my father, I quickly mistook fear for awe

In that presence the first time I met it.

So, casting about (my own little net)I reached (as perhaps our Geoffrey had reached)

For such a tale as would tell me my place

And found (what my father had overlooked)

Vogli, Breatrice, volgi gli occhi santi

That I too was caught in l'antica rete:

As in her eyes, Beauty is hard

Like diamonds.

(image: Dante's Dream at the Death of Beatrice by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1871) English Pre-Raphaelite, oil on canvas, Walker Gallery, Liverpool)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Eve's Second Sorrow

There are no images of Eve's second sorrow.

On the death of her son
From forseeable betrayal
There are contemplations of beauty.

Her sorrow then cannot be but precursor

To a Promethean blind hope

That Death might itself

Necessitate a salvation that only a medieval might understand.

But Adam surely died.
Did she cradle him in her arms?
I prefer to think she did--and Michealangelo captured something
Of the paradox in the Pieta:
A Mother mourning the death of the First Son, even
As an Eve shed tears for the passing of the second.

(image: (c) "The First Mourning." William Adolph Bourguereau