I Thought This Thought in Italy

michelangelo awakening slave

Michelangelo struck marble compulsively
the way nectar bees in his wild garden
probed flower hearts…to dart and drive,
to draw life force from corporeality
be it clover or Carrara, they sweet sweat
penetrated to quartz dust pollen revelry.

I thought this thought in Italy…one day
as I hovered ‘round and ‘round and ‘round
his unfinished statue…a mighty Captive
imprisoned in unyielding custody of stone
both hands and feet gaoled in the column
where his body twisted toward free will.

And from that day in Italy…surrounded by
his finished polished blessed Sistine and his
decisive David…this is a work of art I savor
that I captured then.. a rich raw gold
honey life force in my comb of memory.

Bonnie Marshall

12 thoughts on “I Thought This Thought in Italy

  1. The last two lines of each stanza are all 3 stunners, Bonnie: stunningly condensed and good.

  2. enjoyed very much your reading of the poem. it does seems counter-intuitive that the unfinished statue is more powerful than the polished ones. it makes me wonder if there is a correspondence to poetry here. can we polish the power out of our poems? also, i wonder if you might be kind enough to discuss your decision to use “they.”

    1. Bless you for your close reading, Michael. They…Michelangelo and the bees…marble dust and pollen “dust”…Michelangelo’s sweat and the bees’nectar–evidence of industry/creativity…something like that. I’ve never been to Italy–only in my poetry. Smiles…

  3. thanks for your response, Bonnie. it’s amazing, isn’t it, how cold marble can come alive in the hands of a master? a few years ago i was lucky enough to see Bernini’s “Rape of Persephone” in rome. i’m still astonished at its artistry, its emotional power. i hope you can go to rome and florence, and other italian cities, as well. your impressive ability to “see” art will be nourished by the experience.

    1. A few reasons keep me from world traveling, Michael, although I’ve traveled extensively to all fifty states…Canada, Mexico. Not ruling it out, though. Big fan of Globe Trekkers. Smile…

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