Sunday, January 24, 2010

Through the Glass

The Last Supper
Painting by Leonardo da Vinci

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

I think that all my life
I have seen understood loved
angered at things conditions lives
of women and men only through
glass and that glass a thick broken-off
fragment as used to be the bottom
of a soft-drink bottle brown
wedged in hardpan unrevealing

yet there is transparency in the world
I have loved parts of the world
through that transparency
glass or eyeglasses that transmitting light gave life
around me a coherence
transparent in the flame green
of grass bathing in sunlight

transparent in the husky silksound
of a naked skin under a caress
to make love to and be made love to by

that silksound now silent
yet correlative to the mist that pervades
the hills out that window I’m now looking out of
that mist which permeates and yet is a skin
to the hills and a screen adorning, hiding
the naked and I think of this window

which is really only my work window
and yet sufficient to call up thoughts
of windows and skins and the magic of Leonardo’s
Last Supper which thanks to the artist’s
failure or over-refinement of care
is now both a work of art and the pocked
window through which we view the art

that magic relies as much on the beauty
of the nearly empty windows at the rear
as it does on the knot garden of love and anguish
and betrayal and serenity foregrounded
by bread and glass and plateware
and a brusquely awakened dovecote of hands

but it is the windows I mean to speak of
with just the faintest touches of farreaching
lilting meadow and darker-than-myrtle
Italian cypress and blue lateday light about
to go bronze so that Gethsemane may loom
hear its distant gongstroke and this
is what I can see in any window
any given day stop a minute can’t you see through yours
the day recede lips unuttering even its footfalls

withdrawing entirely silent covered
by the shadows that lengthen and yet
the whole open scene dies clinging to the overtone
of green flame in the bathing in sunlight summer grass
through my window da Vinci’s window yours

here comes again tomorrow
the Judas kiss the husky silksound
skintouch and nature and promise
and betrayal and lovemaking all melting

now in the window a shorebird
soaring up from a line of evergreens
black in the mist complicating with a new line
the carpentered crosshairs
birdflight addling slightly
the silence in the lampshade milk glass