Saturday 11 April 2009

Resurrection: Piero della Francesca

One of the greatest artistic representations of Christ’s resurrection is Piero della Francesca’s Resurrection in Palazzo Communale of Borgo, Sansepolcro in Tuscany:

Rowan Williams’ new collection, Headwaters (Perpetua 2008), includes a poem about this painting, entitled “Resurrection: Borgo San Sepolcro”. Here’s an excerpt:

So the black eyes
fixed half-open, start to search, ravenous,
imperative, they look for pits, for hollows where
their flood can be decanted, look
for rooms ready for commandeering, ready
to be defeated by the push, the green implacable
rising. So he pauses, gathering the strength
in his flat foot, as the perspective buckles under him,
and the dreamers lean dangerously inwards. Contained,
exhausted, hungry, death running off his limbs like drops
from a shower, gathering himself. We wait,
paralysed as if in dreams, for his spring.


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