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Mystery Has No Name

Spring 2018 - Vol. 60, No. 2

 

This poem appears in the Spring 2018 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.


 

 

It’s surfacing from farther down
   but slowly—so slowly that
   it seems no longer rising
   but stalled.
                      It’s like the magic
   of sleep when dreams assemble
   on their own until they’re whole.
Or when a rose becomes
   a rose from bud to blossom
   overnight.
                  Or how a photograph—
   developing—becomes itself
   in glossy black and white
   before our eyes.
                             Where are
   the words that say that life’s
   what’s brought to light not by
   but through us?
                                     If we
   are praised for that, it’s more
   than we deserve.
                              This may
   explain why Michelangelo signed
   none of his sculptures but
   the Pieta.
                    He did that only
    as an afterthought to show
   that he, not Gobbo Solari
   of Milan, had made it.
                                         Michel
   Angelus Bonoratus Florent
   Faciebat
appears on the sash
   of the Virgin.
                         Carved in marble
   from Carrara, that made the Pieta
   less tributary to the grief
   of Christ’s mother than openly
   the work of no one else
   but Michelangelo!
                                 Of Florence!
Later he regretted having done it
   and blamed it all on vanity.
By then it was too late.

 

Samuel Hazo is the founder and director of the International Poetry Forum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and McAnulty Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Duquesne University. The author of several books of poetry, fiction, and essays, as well as four plays, his book Just Once received the Maurice English Poetry Award in 2003. A National Book Award finalist, he was chosen the first State Poet of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Governor Robert Casey in 1993 and served until 2003.