Thursday, 6 October 2011

Italian poem No 6.


                                  Flowers for Larry

A boy kneels down before the Primavera-
Rome has passed him by:
a symphony of roaring cars and tooting horns
and rattle of a thousand motor bikes
punctuated by a policeman's whistle.
At the Trevi Fountain
spray was blown his way
and wet his face and jacket.
Catacombs smell damp and musty.
In Saint Peter's there are echoes
and the Sistine Chapel
is a maze
of shouting noise and shoving people
where it's difficult to find one's parents.
Florence has a tower with bells
and one enormous bell
that bursts upon your senses.
People laugh and talk in foreign language.
Horse and carriage clip-clop on the stones
and everywhere are pigeons.
One sat on his shoulder for a moment
and another past him at such speed
its wingtip grazed his cheek.

Now he's kneeling there before the Primavera,
with his eye so close the surface
that security is pacing
but a yard away unnoticed.
Above his stooping head is Venus
gazing out with gentle face.
He's oblivious to her beauty
and the graces of the maidens
simpering, diaphanous,
fingers linked in ceaseless dance.
He does not perceive the painting
like the connoisseur or tourist
He's a boy who never sees the bigger picture.
There exists for him
only the narrow compass of a little lens
that's hardly larger than a watch-face.
"Look at this!" he cries,
"No-one has ever painted flowers        
more beautiful than these!"
And there they are,
nestled in grass of darkest green-
flowers of the sweetest loveliness
that breathe the scent of Spring's perfection!
But has anyone
within five hundred years of seeing,
writing, rapture, contemplation, 
really looked at them before?
Down the years
I thank you, Sandro,
for your gift of minutiae!
While your Venus and her Graces
are for all the world to worship;
in your masterpiece you planted
tiny flowers
and made them grow
for Larry. 

©   Tamsyn Taylor  

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