Inside the Duomo, Milan
Marble pillars like giant Sequoias tower
to an impossibly high roof, spire after spire
scratching underbellies of clouds. I try
to imagine the number of workers needed
to haul the marble up from some quarry,
to Milan with some contrivance -
drawn by animals, or more men?
My neck muscles tweak and strain
from gawking like some wide-eyed oaf
seeing his very first Ferris wheel.
I try to fathom the erecting of such
magnitude. It is not the presence of any
god I sense in this cathedral vastness,
nor in the icon-gilt splendor;
no choral echoes, no chanting penitents,
no mutter of learned liturgy, no sermons.
Neither weddings nor funerals flicker
across my consciousness as I linger,
awed by the simple beauty of pattern
on the expanse of marble floor,
my hand against to try to feel
the fierce sweat and ache of thousands
upon thousands of ordinary folk
who toiled years or decades, even lifetimes
to bring this church to perfection
If a god is here to be found it is
in the lives of those who built it,
the ones who died lifting and straining,
who dropped from scaffolds like shot birds,
who slipped and were crushed to death
by marble; and in all those who died,
never knowing how the story ended.
This poem is from Blood Bone Ice & Stone, from his own Thistledown Press, Ontario Canada.
Glen Sorestad, born in Vancouver in 1937, has been doing poetry and publishing widely in Canada for over 30 years. He's lived in Saskatoon for a long time and was the first Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan.
He came through Albuquerque once with a couple other Canadian poets, one of them Peter Christensen, for a reading in the bookstore where I was working, and since then we've occasionally kept in touch. An arrival of a book by Glen is a real treat. There is a dance of language that has to do with real things.
If you like this poem send him a message: he'd love to hear from someone in New Mexico. https://www.facebook.com/glen.sorestad
Do look over Charlie Vermont's letter about Placitas/New Mexico life a few years back when Bob Creeley and Bobbie (Louise Hawkins) were around and poetry and sunsets and the Thunderbird Bar invigorated everybody . . .as they in a different form still do . . . John Roche's comment about this letter of Charlie's is "Extraordinary letter!" and the Charlie Vermont poems are not to be missed. Charlie is now an MD in Arkansas . . .
Send submissions for the Sunday Poem to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell others about The Sunday Poem if you like this, and check out the weekly poem in the New Mexico Mercury. Larry Goodell