National Gallery, London
You ask me why I’ve sat down to read
in front of an El Greco painting.
You find it strange that I keep so still,
to take in only the air that I need,
and no more,
that my hand moves ever so slowly
when it turns a page.
Listen, El Greco’s figures are candle flames,
they are what’s left when you strip away the flesh,
and that’s why they all look the same.
El Greco painted spirits,
powerful, vibrating, yet so frail.
I want to keep them with me,
for as long as they wish to stay.
If I breathe too loudly,
I’ll blow the candles out.
If I glance at them too directly,
they’ll go away.
You shake your head
and look straight at the canvas.
You see a kneeling Christ,
you see an elongated back –
anatomically impossible –
the wings attached to it,
are somewhere between bird and butterfly.
This is not what it’s about,
I shake my head.
I am not religious, I say –
just longing for grace.
This poem first appeared at http://www.chrisdenengelsman.nl and on the author's personal blog.
Anca Rotar is a Romanian-born writer of poetry and fiction. She was driven to writing by her love of stories and verse, as well as by an ever-increasing fascination with mysteries and the unknown. Her biggest complaint is that there are too many interesting things in the world and hardly enough time to discover them all.
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