Friday, March 31, 2017

Ecce Homo by John Berryman


Ecce Homo

Long, long with wonder I thought you human,
almost beyond humanity but not.
Once, years ago, only in a high bare hall
of the great Catalan museum over Barcelona,
I thought you might be more—

a Pantocrator glares down, from San Clemente de Tahull,
making me feel you probably were divine
but not human, through that majestic image.
Now I've come on something where you seem both.
A photograph of it only—

Burgundian, of painted & gilt wood,
life-size almost (not that we know your Semitic stature),
attenuated, your dead head bent forward sideways,
your long feet hanging, your thin long arms out
in unconquerable beseeching-

 

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