A Capricho

by Stanley Moss

Given a Mont Noir of dead children,
Goya understood death and beauty.
Free to wander through the gardens of war,
after The Third of May,
in his deaf villa, La Quinta del Sordo,
upon the walls of his house
he painted something like Guernica
a hundred and ten years before Picasso.
Goya painted horrors: Saturn Devouring His Son,
The Witches' Sabbath, "A Drowning Dog"
that I believe is an allegory
of man's relationship to God.
We are paddling dogs looking up at a mountain.
In the sky is an indistinguishable God.

For a remembrance, Goya painted a selfie,
himself, a surviving son, his daughter in law,
her father, and a nameless hombre,
a painting that Queen Isabel II
bought from Goya's son, Javier.
I found the selfie when it was lost.

Given five dead children
honorable people lose their senses.
Sometimes they are lost then found.
His lead poisoned ears stayed deaf.

My father, Goya, proved his unique,
oblique understanding with his vast body of work,
his Caprichos, a holy covenant
that governed his, then our lives and deaths. He painted
studies of happiness in his paintings of death.
A little mirth in pain, a little death in happiness.

The arena is a roofless theater
the bullfight is a happy tragic play, reviewed
in Spanish newspapers on the theater page.
There are no English words for it.
Beyond fashion, Francisco fashioned costumes,
the trajes de luces, suitts of lights,
worn by toreros, not picadores and banderilleros.
I will not forget the peónes,
the assistants who swept and still sweep up
the breadcrumbs and dung of death, as I do.

It's dangerous but Ill guess a Goya dream:
He watches a football game
in a shaded grandstand,
the heads of his dead children are footballs.

Most of us have had a brush with death,
when we fell asleep at the wheel,
something like a carriage or automobile
rolled down a cliff.
Francisco Goya y Lucientes
had a brush with death. He licked, ate
lead white paint from his brush.
It killed him in Bordeaux one sunless
April 16th in the year of his Lord
1828. His remains were transported
in 1919 to the Ermita
de San Antonio de la Florida.
His head was missing, his dream
of some players playing football
with the heads of his sons came true.
His Lord added one more head to the game.

Always Alwaysland

Last updated December 17, 2022