Summer 1994 • Vol. XVI No. 3 Poetry |

On the Plight of Us in the Caravaggio

A detail from The Sacrifice of Isaac painted by Michelangelo Amerighi da Caravaggio The decision is made, issues are joined, the eyes close, one exhales, the body shudders, night has fallen on Tuscany, the sea deepens beyond one's concept of it, waves flail all night on a littoral whose name need not yet be translated in this poem nor entered in the book of names, the sixteenth century cranks its gears, grinds, lumbers on, and one's place in history is assured, for the moment at least; there is to be nothing to stay the rhythm, thwart the blood, neither the look away nor the turn back, not reprieve nor the faint hope of reprieve, neither landscape to save us nor ourselves, intercessions neither looked to nor asked: the plot will happen here as it was meant to, as it must; the queer luster of the blade, even in half-light, fierce, insidious, ready, at last, to break into pure flame or--they come to the same--into pure song, its supremacy past doubt, beyond reason,

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By Herbert Morris

A detail from The Sacrifice of Isaac painted by Michelangelo Amerighi da Caravaggio The decision is made, issues are joined, the eyes close, one exhales, the body shudders, night has […]

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