Monday, March 07, 2005

The Sistine Chapel


Head to nose to back to front to shoulder to side
The Akia crowd carries us forward
Towards the Sistine Chapel
At an excited snail’s pace
It seems like we c
over every exalted inch
Of the four miles of Vatican corridors
Gazing at tapestries, details, paintings, reliefs
And potted New Testament histories


Head to nose to back to front to shoulder to side
We shuffle on our pilgrimage
And I lift my feet and the crowd carries me towards the Big Match
Towards the Sistine Chapel
Delighted that Michelangelo has passed a late fitness test

Head to nose to back to front to shoulder to side
We finally decant into the Sistine Stadium
And the room, and ceiling, is breath-taking, and beautiful
And we gasp, as do the other five hundred tourists,
Crammed onto the terraces, moving towards the touchline
No cameras! No cameras! bark the officials
But everyone’s holding out a phone
As if to bless the ceiling
Or catch a whisper from God
Sending the great story though the firmament
To the folks back home who couldn’t afford the ticket prices
And to all those outside, anxious to hear the half-time score
And little flashes flicker over the crowd
Like incandescence on the waters
Where Jesus might have walked

Head to nose to back to front to shoulder to side
We later pass the secret rooms of the Vatican
The closed bookcases and arcane ledgers
We browse the many retail opportunities
Gather our bags from the cloakroom
And are spewed into the reality
Of a cold and refreshing Roman rain
And the voices in the market place cry
Buy the Pope’s Likeness!
Buy a Virgin Mary key ring!
Buy an umbrella!

14 comments:

Roger Stevens said...

I hope this poem doesn't sound too cynical. The Vatican and the Sistine Chapel was beautiful.
But it was also like going to a football match. And there really were retail opportunites around every corner.
And, it may be simplistic, but you can't help thinking that there's something wrong - that the Catholic Church should have such untold wealth when so many of its congregation are so poor.

michael said...

Such is the hypocracy of organised religion.
I like the idea of it being like a football match. I think I would have been even more cynical in your place , but then I'm just a cynical old codger!

Laura said...

I like this poem. It gets the feeling of tourist-beautiful-place-crammed-backpack-flash-camera-whiz-do-and-move-on just right. I think I would have been more cynical too..

-bubwit said...

i liked the "Head to nose to back to front to shoulder to side.."i can really feel what u felt then,cant imagine a bettr description,i love poetry ,but i guess i stil hav lots of things to learn from u..
keep it that way!

Jonathan said...

I'm so cynical I didn't even try to visit it...

michael said...

What other HTML tags are there then besides the three they supply here? Is there a glossary somewhere that I don;'t know about?

the wheel said...

Love the poem Roger. I was getting clausterphobic just reading it.

Michael, you can also post links within the comments too, using the HTML tag you would use in a blog posting.

If I use the brackets (<), it'll make a link, so I can't write the actual code. Just replace the ** and the ## with the brackets I've shown below:

**=<
##=>

**a href="http:www.site_you_want_to_link_to.com"##words you want to appear as the hyperlink##**/a##

Here is an example.

Syl said...

what's that Meatloaf song..."you took the words right outta my mouth!"....exactly

Syl said...

Michael...have you seen ?

jadedprimadonna said...

Very nice poem, Roger. Funny story - it was over a 100 degrees when I visited Rome and I'd been awake for two straight weeks. (We were partying it up - it was Europe!)I actually FAINTED in the Sistine Chapel. Fortunately, my friend caught me before I landed flat on my face... =o/

Answers to your pink interview are posted in the comments of that interview blog on my site.

Ed Giecek said...

Say Roger... Didja git one'a them flesh colored Christ's that glow in the dark?

Boomsa said...

Lovely poem, Roger, especially the bit about phones. It's been a while, but (insert excuse of choice). Hugs.

Amie said...

lovey poetic description of your experience :)

michael said...

I've been trying to popst a comment for a while but Blogger was playing up for some reason. Thanks scrambled egghead for the link to the funny cartoon. I'm sure Archie will enjoy it.