Tiepolo - Poem by Ken Bolton
In the 14, 15th &
16th centuries it was
all happening in Italy
artistically tho by the 17th
other countries had joined in.
By the 18th
Italy was definitely off the pace.
Still, I happen to think Tiepolo
was a major artist
tho employed mostly
by palace owners
to fill space -
before the invention in our own time
of the smoke machine
that so readily solved this problem -
for disco proprietors, rave
parties etcetera. In the last week of
third year old Bernard
pulled out all the stops
in the lecture on Tiepolo. I was there.
Not alone, but almost.
(Others were at home, preparing
for exams, finishing
last, overdue essays.) Like Professor Smith’s
lecture that no one heard
Tiepolo was designed
not to be looked at.
Like the smoke the machine
pumps out: billowing cloud
... some armour ... flesh &
garments - the suggestion of
excitement - that no one buys -
least of all
the lonely type,
who can’t dance
& stands, staring into
at a trick of the light.
Tiepolo’s Three Angels Appearing
To Abraham in the Venice Accademia
is like that. He is the dud guy
bottom left - kneeling, dirty feet,
beard. The angels, thin limbed,
glamorous, surf up
on their rubber dinghy of cloud -
& look down incuriously -
except to remark, perhaps,
the dirt - & vouschafe a glimpse of
beauty - a limb dangled
Abe’s way, silhouetted against cloud.
As if to say,
You can go home now,
Abe, patron-at-disco, better not
to wait for more.
You’ve been catered for -
it costs a lot,
but they’ve got everything here.
Here today, gone tomorrow.
Which doesn’t solve your problem.
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