“No Michaelangelo.”

A few days ago, after an intensive three-day burst of academic writing, I wrote this. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂


No Michaelangelo

“In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michaelangelo.” – Eliot, “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

 

These words emerge without judgment,

Without the chapped feeling that skin has in winter.

No guilt spills out alongside blue-black ink,

For I have done my best to clarify, to polish,

To hew my thoughts into the stones of history.

 

Despite my name, I’m no Michaelangelo;

Though we were both touched by the seraph’s wing,

Our medium differs, in seed as well as fruit.

He sculpts with all the grandeur of the gods;

I write, my winged words pale shadows of their forms.

 

I won’t distort the envy that I feel:

At twenty-one, I couldn’t carve a stone,

Or use a chisel to reveal a face.

No rock-face spoke its ancient name to me.

Instead, I used my brazen words to obscure my point,

To dance around the edges of significance…

Some days and nights, I still perform that way.

More often, now, I feel a rush of bracing air,

Like frigid gales off frozen Baffin Bay,

As I can feel my pen impinge on truth.

Desire’s ancient onyx flame still stirs my soul

To point towards Reality with ink-stained hands.

 

I know that I’ll never sculpt a Hebrew warrior;

I feel that a lean gait that does not lope

Will forever vanish just beyond my eye.

That’s fine, because—just as the Lion says—

My story’s only ever told to me.

I will display my verdant purpose best

If I become myself. I cannot be another,

For these shortened limbs and scattered thoughts

Comprise my integrity, and waken in me

A desire for coherence, though not for unity.

I point towards the spires and buttresses

Of the great castle Diversity, in which all are stones.

I clamber over flying scaffolding

And scale its endless marble city walls;

I watch the living igneous rocks collide, combine,

And collect themselves into the columns of community.

 

Although my glasses are scratched and my hands still bleed,

Although I feel the wind blow through me with each step,

I will not yield to foe, fatigue, or fear.

My destiny is closer than I think,

Sitting at the curve of the road where I cannot see.

I feel the fullness of the living word that impels me;

I take my chisel and my hammer, and I tap away.

In hours, I may see an eye where none was there,

And in days, discern a graceful open ear.

I may not make the David, or even carve

A single bowl of grapes from sullen stones,

But what I make is worthy, for it’s mine.

It still reveals its gentle light to my waiting eye,

And sings its revelations to my sleeping thought.

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2 thoughts on ““No Michaelangelo.”

  1. I’ve noticed more and more recently that your poetry is sort of pushing back against the constraints of rhyme. It is giving it a more chaotic energy, which I really like.

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