Τρίτη, 2 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Constantine's dream




I dreamed a dream
of st Francis who kneeled and prayed
for the birds and the beasts and all human kind
all through the night I felt drawn in by him
and I heard him call like a distant hymn
I retreated from the silence of my room
stepping down the ancient stones
washed with dawn
and entered the basilica that bore his name
seeing his effigy I bowed my head
and my racing heart, I gave to him
I kneeled and prayed
and sleep that I could not find in the night
I found through him
I saw before me the world of his world
the bright fields
the birds in abundance

all of nature 
of which he sang 
singing of him 
all the beauty that surrounded him as he walked 
his nature that was nature itself 
and I heard him 
I heard him speak 
and the birds sang sweetly 
and the wolves licked his feet 
but I could not give myself to him 
I felt another call from the basilica itself 
the call of art, the call of man, 
and the beauty of the material drew me away 
and I awoke 
and beheld upon the wall, the dream of Constantine 
the handiwork of piero della francesca 
who had stood where I stood 
and with his brush stroke the legend of the true cross 
and he envisioned Constantine advancing to greet the enemy 
and as he was passing the river 
an unaccustomed fear gripped his bowels 
an anticipation so overwhelming that it manifested in waves 
all through the night 
the dream drew toward him as an advancing crusade 
he slept in his tent on the battlefield 
while his men stood guard 
and an angel awoke him 
Constantine within his dream awoke 
and his men saw a light pass over the face of the king 
the troubled king 
and the angel came and showed to him the sign of the true cross 
in heaven 
and upon it was written "in this sign shall thou conquer" 
in the distance 
the tents of his army were lit by moonlight 
but another kind of radiance lit the face of Constantine 
and in the morning light the artist seeing his work was done 
saw it was good 
in this sign shall thou conquer 
he let his brush drop and passed into a sleep of his own 
and he dreamed of Constantine carrying him into battle in his right hand 
an immaculate undefiled and simple white cross 
Piero della Francesca, as his brush stroked the wall 
filled with the torpor and fell into a dream of his own 
from the geometry of his heart, he mapped it out 
he saw the king rise, fitted with armor set upon a white horse 
an immaculate cross in his right hand 
he advanced toward the enemy 
and the symmetry 
the perfection of his mathematics 
caused the scattering of the enemy—agitated, broken 
they fled 
and Piero dela Francesca, waking, cried out 
all is art 
all is future 
oh lord let me die on the back of adventure 
with a brush and an eye full of light 
as he advanced in age, the light was shorn from him 
his eyes, blinded, 
he layed upon his bed 
on an october morning, 1492 
whispering 
oh lord 
let me die on the back of adventure, oh lord 
let me die on the back of adventure, oh 
and a world away, the world away 
on three great ships, adventure itself, 
as if to answer 
pulling into the new world 
and as far as his eyes could see 
no longer blind 
all of nature 
unspoiled beautiful beautiful 
such a manner it would have lifted the heart of st Francis 
into the realm of universal love 
Columbus set foot on the new world 
he witnessed beauty unspoiled 
all of the delights given by god 
as if in Eden itself 
as if Eden had opened up her heart to him 
and opened her dress 
and all of her fruit, gave to him 
and Columbus so overwhelmed 
fell into a sleep of his own 
all the world in his sleep 
all of the beauty 
all of the beauty entwined with the future 
the 21st century 
advancing like the angel 
advancing like the angel 
that had come to Constantine 
Constantine and history 
oh this is your cross to bear 
oh lord 
oh lord let me deliver 
hallowed adventure to all mankind 
in the future 
oh art, cried the painter 
oh art, oh art, cried the angel 
art the great material gift of man 
art that hath denied the hungered pleas of st Francis 
oh thou artist 
all shall crumble in the dust 
oh thou navigator 
the terrible end of man 
this is your gift to mankind 
this is your cross to bear 
then Columbus saw all of nature aflame 
the apocalyptic night 
and the dream of the troubled king 
dissolved 
into light