In Echoing Halls
What is this room, replete with crucifixions,
Nativities, a dozen "Madonna-and-Child"'s?
The Renaissance. Who else shows Roman soldiers
In full knight's armor, Mary in Italian gown?
But note that sparkling reflection -
The gilded Bethlehem Star
Echoed in gilt embroidered dresses
And haloes framing faces, eyes cast down,
Or else lifted with hands towards heaven's heights.
Here's a silver cross in three dimensions.
And there a sculpture of St. Paul in wood.
What of this blue trinket box - any meaning?
Ah - "contains remnants of St. Bartholomew."
What distant time! So steeped in holy subjects
Intertwined with what was modern - then.
The Grecian Woman
There she sits, looking as if
She were alive. Feet stretched out, reclining
"On a rock," according to display card.
The rock is hidden
By loosely fitted robes that drape her
As she reclines.
Her thick hair lifted up, with her chin.
Her gaze set looking afar.
Pleasant enough. But what
Is she looking at?
The sea. She's sitting on a rock, after all.
A Hellenic stone washed by the tides
Of the dancing Mediterranean
Guarded by Pillars of Hercules
And dotted by long merchant ships
Set in motion by a single sail and lines
Of rowing men.
What wonders they could bring! From Egypt or Tunis,
The Italian Peninsula, or a window
Of the Far East?
There she reclines. There she gazes.
Upon Mediterranean waters.
Perhaps it is a court. Her countenance
Is stately enough. She sits and surveys all
That bustles around her. Reclined, hair swept up,
Gaze high and serene - she is a sculpture.
Too languid to pose as caryatid, she exists to symbolize
The wealth and refinement
Of whoever then ruled all.
Three thousand years later
And here she sits.
Gazing at what?
The past whispers no secrets.
Grey, somewhat porous
Textured by the years -
The Grecian woman reclines on a rock
So, full disclosure. I actually went with my family to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco on 7/6/17. I wrote the first poem on 7/7/17, which led to a mix-up in my mind thinking that that was the original date I attended the museum. After realizing my error I decided that 7/7/17 sounds more poetic than 7/6/17, so I left it. Which I know you don't care about, I just have this annoying tendency to be anal about facts like that. :P