Saturday, September 24, 2011
Byzantium: the Lady-Friend of the Archeologist
The serpent is inlaid with gold,
all the gold that he can hold;
the dove is rimmed with chrysolite –
she hasn't got a hope of flight.
All across the tessellations
march the figured constellations:
God is pictured there as well,
and Noah, leading apes in hell.
Where Jesus is, I couldn't say,
From a boy he's been this way:
his mother says since he could toddle
he's always been inclined to dawdle.
Late to dinner, late to lunch,
enraptured by a sudden hunch
that bees will talk if treated right –
you'd only need to be polite.
You'll find him squatting in the yard,
both eyes closed, listening hard,
to the golden-flickered hum
of the vespid on his thumb.
she lifts her fingers from the tile,
lit by a wandering, ragged smile,
bringing away the thick prosaic
dust from the eyes of the mosaic:
she believes she's found behind the sky,
of gathered lapis lazuli,
the lines of his suddenly stinging doubt
traced in the ancient workman's grout.