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VIEWING THE TADDEI TONDO

(Michelangelo Buonarroti), The Royal Academy.

Taddei Tondo, a relief sculpture by Michelange...

Taddei Tondo, a relief sculpture by Michelangelo in the Royal Academy, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s obvious half realisation

is more fascinating, enigmatic

than bold, bezelled actualisation.

We’ve climbed vitreous steps, automatic

in our assumption they will bear our weight,

and now stand face to face with Christ, St. John.

The babe recoils from His prefigured fate.

A goldfinch holds their- and our- attention.

This is that same bird whose blasphemous theft

of berries from Messiah’s thorny crown

drew scarlet beads from His brow: all this left

to our imagination and not shown-

a veil not dragged right back, but partly drawn.

And marble’s own epiphany, eclat

provides the nimbus we rely upon,

hallowing all with a magnificat.

We seem to stand upon mere reflection,

art aiding in us the visionary;

summoning faith in His resurrection:

elevation from the ordinary.

Our souls are gradually teased, released

as we feel translucence behind stone’s chill.

In a blink we find wonders haven’t ceased

and the master chisel is not yet still.

Like struggling slave figures in Florence,

who grapple to achieve transformation

from half-hewn blocks, seeking deliverance,

our striving eases in adoration.

Contemplating heaven with feet of clay,

we find relief; moulds break and fall away.

Michelangelo Buonarroti

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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