Friday, February 24, 2012
The Ideal City
Consider this marvel of Renaissance wit:
The Ideal City, by Lucian Laurana-
See how the canny master contrived in it
To lead the eye along the polished piazza
Back to a single point on the far horizon
By dint of planes, formed ny the great arcades
Of noble pallazi, their window-lit facades
Tinted shades of gold and green and dun;
At center fore, a temple, double tiered
Whose coffered, greatly-pedimented doors
Are gained by a shallow flight of marble stairs;
All around, the whole is pillastered
By half-coluns crowned by leafy capitals
While over the roof, so gently conical,
Capped with a charming, fluted filial
Is heaven's azure dome, sub-tending all;
The fore-ground, too, is decked with well-wrought wells
Calyced alike with steps octagonal.
No pollution, smog or plastic waste
Mars the sheer perfection of the place
All is open, peaceful, clean and clear
With Harmony and Truth presiding there.
But, world-acquainted traveller, take note
In the houses and streets no human can be seen!
Could the great Laurana have forgot
Or did he decline to limn one in?
The palaces, the fountains and the square
Unpeopled, quite, as daydreams sometimes are
Bask in a holy silence still unbroken
By racous laugh or flimsey promise spoken.
No despoiling image of a man!
Painter's irony? Mere poet's spleen?
Or is it, must it, be so then,
That the Ideal City's the city without men?