Below the Earth
My ﬁrst glance takes in
an army, tens of thousands ready
armed. As a mirror reﬂects
indistinctly and with a feeble
light, so it cracks and
soon fades. From its surface a clear
image of the beholder.
In these paintings: harbors, promontories,
shores, rivers, fountains,
fanes, groves, mountains, ﬂocks, and of
course shepherds. Sometimes mythological
episodes, ﬁgures of the gods, the
battles at Troy, wanderings of Ulysses.
Scorned in these days of bad taste.
Now we have frescos of mon-
strosities, candelabra supporting
shrines, stalks with human heads.
Malachite green, Armenian
blue, red earths in
abundance, vermilion like a drug.
From Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy by Keith Waldrop. Copyright © 2009 by Keith Waldrop. Used by permission of University of California Press. All rights reserved.
Keith Waldrop is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Selected Poemsi (Omnidawn, 2016), as well as translations of contemporary French poets.
Date Published: 2009-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/below-earth