Saturday, 8 October 2011

Italian poem No 8.

"The Funeral of Santa Fina", Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1485 
NOTE: The story of the painting and the origins and iconography of the poem are to be found at  ".....favourite things....." in the blogs "Tea with Mussolini" and "Santa Fina and the violets"

Santa Fina

for Dame Judi Dench

Little maiden
with your flaxen hair
and forehead neatly plucked,
(bearer of pain and visions),
how long did we nurse you
upon your wooden pallet?
Death soft as sleep
enfolding like the petals of a rose
your virgin body
lying sweet
and winsome
while the gentle chorister
presses his sightless face
against your small cold feet.
The chapel blazes bright.
What healing power is come
from hand of one
no nurse’s care
or chaplain’s prayers
could heal?
Let Adam and Eve consume
the fruit of sin
and armies perish,
ravaging disease
corrupt the flesh,
cruel arrows
of intolerance
pierce the mind;
let humankind
mock goodness,
spit on mercy,
stand spectator by
the murder of the innocent
while dynasties decay
and Hell yawns wide.
Yet may you rest
till morning’s glorious light
and scent of violets
wake you
and the bridegroom’s
laughing voice
says “Girl, rise up
and dance with me
between the laden vines
above the shimmering fields,
past swaying towers
on paving gold
through gates of Paradise.”

        © Tamsyn Taylor    

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