Trace Italienne - Poem by John Staveley
When he was tired of building new defence
For princes who would never understand,
Da Vinci sat and watched the sea grow old.
His heart could not remember what to hold.
The walls and fine art would of course remain
Although the need for either had long gone.
Redundancies, the heart survives them all,
But after each encounter builds a wall.
Time passes and its flanks are undermined
The fortress loses face, the moating fills.
When function dies, stone alone is left.
Leonardo understood this death.
He lived for saving life and knew its space,
He’d recognise the distance we must keep.
We’d stand together, watch a river flow,
I’d touch your face. I’d know you also know
That every stone, every line and stroke,
Leaves a scar that whitens past recall;
Castles, drawings, love will each erode;
The tired defences will outlive us all.
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