Once, he could make a faun
As easily as laughing,
As believing that skill and stone would bear him up.
When stone would sing for him
Like waking up on a spring morning
Each chip of his chisel promising wonder.
When patronage was simply
A man who loved art, and life,
A shrewd eye, and a heavy purse.
When every day, each angle of the sun
Brought new shapes rising up from marble
Carved from his heart.
But time and change and pride and obligation
Bore down hard on him
Like sweating uphill with a pack full of rocks.
Until at last, eroded by years like flawed stone,
Sculpting became hard as porphyry,
Unforgiving as a pope.
Until even his past masterpieces
Became part of his burden
until paint and paper became pain.
Until he was sculpting his sepulchre by candlelight
Each clip of his claw
Coming one step closer to death.
11th June 2016, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence.