Firenze: Galleria dell’Accademia
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1530 circa)
This, is this what
awaits us? He knows this above all:
Turning to stone, going back into stone,
as once he followed each vein,
chipping a master’s shape from stone.
One muscular arm gathers a loincloth low on his thigh.
The other clasps his head, hooks a downward gaze
as if to comfort that massive weight.
He grunts in ecstasy, pounding primal notes as he returns to stone.
Penis lax, legs of steel that until now promised power,
he hums an ancient melody, a work-song known to hasten
the hammering, the builder’s dream.
Far into the night the sounds echo like strings of wire on flesh.
Music is fleeting, they say, but caught in stone
it lasts — different but the same.
Past harmonies become — for a moment — present dissonance
a future foreshadowed faintly in crossing lines on marble.
Confronting all this, words seem mere gloss.
Simon hung himself today.
With our tears we throw stones.
They miss the mark; they ricochet,
hit our own hearts.
Francine Leffler Ringold served two terms as Poet Laureate of Oklahoma (though born and raised in NYC) and was the 2003 winner of the “Writer Who Makes a Difference Award” from The Writer Magazine. She edited and championed Nimrod International Journal and taught at The University of Tulsa for over 47 years. Twice awarded the Oklahoma Book Award, her newest volume of poetry,Dog Days: A Way of Speaking, is almost sold out. Her memoir from Birth to Birth, which is also a guide to writing your memoir, was published in 2015.