Kenneth Slessor

(27 March 1901 – 30 June 1971 / Orange, New South Wales)

Rubens' Innocents


IF all those tumbling babes of heaven,
Plump cherubim with blown cheeks,
Could vault in these warm skies, or leaven
Our starry silent mountain-peaks—
O painter of chub-faced, shining-thighed
Fat Ganymedes of God—what noise
Would churn between the clouds and stride
Far downward from those rose-mouthed boys!
Down to our spires their lusty whooping,
Fanfares of Paradise, would speed,
Far down to dark-faced clergy stooping
Round altars of their doleful creed;
And God, whose wings of silver sweep
Like metal afire on heaven's rim,
Would daze them with a twinkling peep
Of those young moon-stained cherubim—
Then, for a trice, their skies might sparkle,
And some gold ichor splash amid
Those most respectable, patriarchal
Purveyors of stale pardons, hid
Behind their old cathedral closes
From this unguessed, unguessable God,
Shining before their learned noses
Down roads that Peter Rubens trod.

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

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