Lay for the Day 21st
anniversary of the birth of the
painter Masaccio, who ushered in the great period of the Quattrocento
in Italy. He died in 1428, at the age of 26, but hed already changed
the course of European painting and helped to make his native republic
pre-eminent as a place of art.
the book of Praises:
Snail-like city, self-contained,
river gliding at the foot of deep,
long streets that, curved like
rays by gravity, arrive
in squares where spacious arches
triumph, but decorously;
which light calls home; the spirals
core the Duomo, coloured in
the key of earth-tones marl-grey,
green, cream and terracotta.
From the hilltop piazza,
San Miniato al Monte,
it shows as Aristotle
made requisite for beauty
whole, apprehended as one;
though the outbound train reveals
the naff daily hinterland,
cash-and-carry blocks of flats, l
ittle trees wreathed with plastic
from the Arnos winter floods.
Whoever saw of London
the entirety? The clay
bowls pointed with domes and spires
dissolved in fumes at the base
and fume-like jumble of roofs.
But once on the homeward night-
flight, the wing dipped, the strew of
lights, like fibres of a sea-
form, bespoke integrity,
consonance and clarity.
Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar