Rome. Painting The Sistine Chapel. - Poem by Mandira Mitra
The flowers of May are in full bloom
But they do not attend my fresco.
And only yesterday, touching up Noah,
I felt the wind change directions
And start blowing northwest; this blasted city
Not even seven hills blocking the salt sea air,
Making me nostalgic for the pure air of the Arezzo hills.
David sealed my fate, says Urbino:
It’s been my twenty-eighth day up at the scaffolding
With men, women and children jeering at this madman
In clothes matted with plaster and colour running down beard.
I cannot bear too much light, nor saw the walking stick
Land on my shoulders, “Son of Ludovico! When will you finish? ”
As Julius II, livid with anger hissed, “Inauguration on All Saints’ Day! ”
At 69 ft for four years my vertigo is cured now.
Painting is a lonely journey.
“When I shall finish, ” I had answered the vacillating Pope,
Neither Genesis, unraveled for Man; nor promises
Of eternal glory make me work furiously.
But that cruel Vittoria, at mass on a certain day
With the Count D_ by her side at the pew
Shall look up at my nine panels of perspiration
And sin in her thoughts with me, in full Apocalyptic view.
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