by Daniel Hoffman

Preach me no preachments John Ruskin
of the Aspiration of pointed Arches,
of the 'wing'd nobility of buttresses.
I have voyaged over waters for the laving of my sight.
I have found a still font
where in the amber twilight
from column to column the arches
leap, and the light hallows
the curvature of hollows
the rhythm of the columns
the anthems of the silence
ethereal masses. Heaven's
obsidian light pours down
on the joyous Doomsday
of Christ and the creatures
the zodiac of vintners
the sacrifice of oxen
the dogheaded devils
peoples of the earth.
Our sins upon the capitals
breathe in rippling light,
move in the fluent light,
move in their own commission
till in the mind this moment
turns stone,
stone in the mind carved
with devildogs and virgins
butchering the ox in
stone relief, the drunken
vintners in the mind's eye
stony-eyed, the creatures
of the mind arrested,
gargoyle imagination's
personae held in stone
carven on the capitals
under rippling vaultribs
dancing down the arches.
Each in the absolute
joy of strict proportion
leaps from stone to stone
image of the earthfolk,
image of this moment
carved in the mind,
all dooms dancing
toward that stone Resurrection:
Breath on the Tympanum.

Last updated April 25, 2023