Sunday, 3 January 2016

What Need of Heaven?

What Need of Heaven?

A book of art, blue bound with pages thick
as old treacle and stiff as winter washing,
illustration in faded ink stuck in with a blob of glue
protected by tissue paper. Mother threw it out,
a good Catholic woman doesn't tolerate nuddy pics.

I hid it on the outhouse, odd hours snatched
from outdoor playtime as I began a journey
of self education among the damp spotted
and musty pages, learning anatomy
from the study of the nude, for what is beauty
but the eye of the populist? Venus
was my teacher, depicted by Botticelli;
and Michangelo's David. Burne-Jones' Parsifal
taught me morality and justice and Carravagio
that light cannot exist without the value of darkness.
Rembrandt taught me history, Goya, war
and Turner the beauty of the classical world.

When she found me with it, my mother burned it,
warning me of the fires of Hell but she was wrong,
for if Hell was capable of such beauty what need I
of Heaven?

© Rachel Green 2016

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