Sonnetto per Postignano

Keela Dee

An artist mixes pigment, carves his crisp
inscriptions of lapis lazuli glaze
to serve his Savior, hollowed, hung, and whipped
and allows his brush strokes to paint his praise.

A century fades and leaves no room for 
remembrance but instead honors wit.
Unlovely intelligence raises ore
and wall-crawling scholarship is worship.

They practice tortured arias for years
within that Chapel that had lost its glow.
The congregants competed with their peers
as Savior hangs his head beneath the stone.

Then tilting toward dire, spiritual drought,
the earth intervened and the rocks cried out.

“I had the opportunity to spend some time in Italy right after graduating with my undergrad. There was a chapel at the place I was staying that was built in the 15th century, but had frescoes from the 16th century on the wall, depicting an academic scene. Then in 1960, there was an earthquake that revealed the original fresco behind the wall, showing Jesus on the cross (‘The Rocks Cried Out’ shown above). I was floored at the beauty and significance of these paintings, but I couldn’t for the life of me write about it. I have tried several poems and prose pieces over the last 6 years, and none of them seemed to capture what that place meant to me. But something about these past two years brought forth creative valleys, yes, but also creative peaks, and I was finally able to put it into words. I pray that if you experience crumbling walls, you are able to see Christ shining through even still.”

—Keela Dee

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