SMS: a Florence poem

i.m. Seamus Heaney

Harry Cochrane
May 12, 2018 - 16:12

It was just in front of Nicodemus –

a self-portrait from Michelangelo

say art historians – and Christ below,

wasted with the effort to redeem us

that the text pressed itself against my thigh.

What a cliché to say that my blood froze

and I could compose myself to compose

neither expostulation nor reply,

only this sonnet thirty-two weeks on:

yet another conceived in Florence

and mine to keep my hands off now you’re gone,

a thanker of heaven for small mercies

and a tributary paying into torrents

of tributes, elegies, of sweet, smooth verses.

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