Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TERZA RIMA, by THEOPHILE GAUTIER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TERZA RIMA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When michael angelo left the sistine dome
Last Line: O sublime blindness! O majestic fault!
Alternate Author Name(s): Theo, Le Bon
Subject(s): Art & Artists; Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564); Sistine Chapel

WHEN Michael Angelo left the Sistine dome,
His frescoes done, sublime with radiant gaze
To tread once more the wonted streets of Rome,

His arms and eyes to heaven he still did raise,
His feet went stumbling on the road of clay,
Who had forgotten earth in heaven's amaze.

While three long moons went round thus did he stay,
As though he were an angel rapt before
The golden triangle's mysterious sway.

Brother, behold why poets suffer sore,
With feet that falter on the world's hard road:
For ever on high heaven do they pore;

And angels, shaking their gold locks abroad,
Lean over them with sheltering arms held wide
And round mouths ready with a kiss from God.

They follow random ways with random stride,
Bruised by the wheels or fellow farers' ire,
Or fallen on pitfalls by them unespied.

What care they for the crowd, or stones, or mire?
They seek by day the visions night doth bring,
Their cheeks aflame with unappeased desire.

Of earthly cares they know no reckoning,
And when in season due their shrine is made,
Forth come they dazed from their dark covering.

The glory of their holy toil hath rayed
Their forms and foreheads with its golden light;
Their eyes do glow with heaven's own light displayed.

Night follows day, and day doth follow night,
Ere yearning eyes, beseeching arms fall down;
And long it is ere their feet fare aright.

Our palaces for them are all o'erthrown;
Their souls for ever to their shrines fly back,
And leave their bodies on our ways alone.

Our day to them seems than the night more black.
Their eyes seek ever the blue sky divine,
And the left fresco puts them on the rack.

Like Buonarotti, giant Lord of line,
Their gaze goes ever to the heavenly vault,
And marble roofs that nigh their foreheads shine.

O sublime blindness! O majestic fault!

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