La Cathedral, Clermont-Ferrand, France



          Leonardo, “The Adoration”


                               ...the world...streaming

                               In the electrolysis of love.


                                                      --Kenneth Rexroth


          What has held me so long

          before this painting?  The awe-stricken crowd

          cascade like swept leaves at her feet,

          a few small angels among them blossoming

          light.  And the wild heads of the horses,

          their eyes whorled with fear, rise

          like the spume of a beaten sea.  War

          and strife cloud the distance,

          held off from this center as if by

          centrifugal force.  At the still eye,

          mother and child, their bodies brushed

          with light.  The tree lifts above them

          its dense speech. 


                                      Unfinished?  Or perhaps 

          the way to tell a story more than the sum

          of men and events.  As if it were not

          the clustered, turbulent figures

          he wanted to show, not these at all,

          but the molecular dance, the invisible                                                      in The Sow’s Ear,

          stream that pulses in this scene,                                                           Pushcart Nomination

          the godstuff itself.  To see--not through                                            

          but into-- every filled thing, even                                                      & in Color Documentary

          the paint and the tense bristles

          remembering their roots in skin

          as they wash over everything a gold light.

          So that, in this dusky, troubled pond,

          great doors swing wide:


                                               There is the tree

          drinking and speaking the pure I am,

          milk that feeds all hungers

          rising through pores of ancient canvas

          in a thousand springs.