The Rondanini Pietà
This would be the other one, the one an artist
sculpts at the end, when life can clearly be
deciphered, the cloud of false starts and anger and
failure finally settling.
His first was so “perfect” so “done.” This so
naked in its faults (an arm left hanging
where a fuller Christ had been, Mary barely scraped
from the stone) can only be by one who knows the
hollowness of surfaces.
Spare and vertical (compared to the slab-like corpse of the first),
this one seems so vulnerable. No sensuous
beauty, gawky fact – it takes a mother’s care
to hold him gently up.
She’s lost in grief, hunched, but strong enough
to heft a body. Like some marvellous eclipse,
her shadows tent what might soon be. Death?
Yes, for Michelangelo.
Thomas Holahan has conducted poetry workshops in Boulder, Colorado and Berkeley, California. Often his poetry takes on the quest for the transcendent in the ordinary world. He has recently been published in the journal Presence. Currently he leads the poetry collective Poets@StPauls in New York City.
The Ekphrastic Review
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