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