Caravaggio

The Taking Of Christ, by Caravaggio. Note the all-too-human despair in Christ’s face.

Dead, at last, in the Tuscany froth,
felled by the poison in the lead paints
which you lathered thickly, as if wroth
with your soul’s war of devils and saints;
ever on the run because your life
was as your paintings—passionate,
full of enemies, murder, and strife,
your soul made as if imps fashioned it
to earn their ladders out from the pits,
using wastrels for works iconic
while given to your violent fits:
your art and life were quite ironic.
With beggars and buggers you portrayed
the apostles and saints, your models
taken from the streets, their seedy trade
that of bathhouses and the brothels.
The shadows seeped darkly from your brush
to frame scant light and embolden the glow,
like whispers in a funeral hush,
your life a stark chiaroscuro.
You captured fear and doubt in the face
of Christ as he confronted his doom,
not as mere blasphemy, but to trace
the Doubt we must face within Death’s tomb.
You dove down into the pits of Hell
to ascend to Heaven from the bounce,
your life was an apostle’s tale:
sin and saint, poisoned paint, ounce for ounce.

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