A godly painting held over their heads
As they process through a street in Florence,
Each face is free from manic glee or dread
And transcends with a tranquil tolerance;
They are transformed by the art’s deep meaning,
The ideals that they uphold in their lives
Of what is proper and what is demeaning;
Are those mere humans or gods who walk by?

The cloud’s shape mimics the foreground’s alignment,
Forming a passageway from ground to sky
That leads out of our human confinement
Beyond a life bound to be sick and die.

But, none truly traveled it, none were gods,
It is we who must this new way now trod.


Evan Mantyk is a poet and English teacher living in New York.

Featured Image: “Cimabue’s Celebrated Madonna is carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence” by Sir Frederic Leighton

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to mbryant@classicalpoets.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here.


One Response

  1. Beau Ecs Wilder

    In Leighton’s Painting
    “The cloud’s shape mimics the foreground’s alignment…”
    —Evan Mantyk

    In Leighton’s painting, Cimabue’s Madonna ‘s at a slant
    and carried through the streets of Florence, Italy.
    Before it, Cimabue, in white, and elegant,
    walks with his pupil, Giotto, young, triumphantly.
    Behind are other painters and Charles of Anjou
    on horse. Clad, at the corner, in gray, Dante leans
    and views the vibrant hues, the elongated crew,
    the clear, distinct, clean lines, the intricate design,
    the distant trees, the tall gray wall, and flowers strewn.
    It is a beautiful example of divine
    and human mingling, th’ ordinary and regnant,
    the present and the past, the ideal and the fine.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.