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Sport 40: 2012


page 184


the legitimate construction of angels rested on the error
of the lesser · sprung of the spheres and the almighty
god they revealed themselves as nature’s vanishing points
inserting a remoteness between objects and the human
a vacuum that received them with indifference yet
incorporated them in window-light and its own eternity
that was like an unintentional gospel · that is my face
among the apostles: those eyes and the way their
blueness stands out against the life-sized allegory
that forgives their gaze · the hills behind i left pale
and the river changing at the bend from green to an ashy
grey brings the figures close so that i can tell their story
through to the present day · but this has abolished
perspective and all hands point to a chronology
no golden section helps to figure · the trees draw
their own line to the icy ground while peter kneels
down on the bank and thrusts his hand obediently
into the fish’s maw · painting too renders its tribute
extracting colour from the raw stroking it on the plaster
giving a little life to the angelic orders · it is cold
in the chapel · not long now before it snows · only
bare branches will remain of those painted crowns
                                    brancacci chapel, florence, 1425

From Tropen. Über das Erhabene © Carl Hanser Verlag, 1998. English translations © Iain Galbraith,2012.