A Visit to Chartres


one of my poems…
Visit to Chartres
I came across it as I took the tour.
The tympanum over the Southern door
portrays the judgement with Christ on his throne,
demons, angels and human souls carved in stone.
It’s not the finest medieval scene.
The figures are cramped and small. The layout’s mean,
awkward and unrefined; and yet for my part,
I find in the ancient stone a higher art–
the sculptor understood the human heart.
He captured in the people down below
greed, anger, lust and pride; and tried to show
on the other side, frail hopeful goodness,
humility, innocence and bliss.
He caught the final moment of our mortal race,
in every resurrected fragile face.
It’s there in both the sinner and the saint;
in their bodies, their gestures and their eyes–
the look of incredulous amazement,
the startled joy–and the terrified surprise.
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