Detail from a church in northwestern Spain. It reads "Micaelis me fecit." ‘Theatre,’ ‘Opera,’ ‘Sculpture’ and Other Poems by Michael Coy The Society November 18, 2019 Beauty, Culture, Humor, Poetry 11 Comments 1. THEATRE Strolling Players Dancers, actors, acrobats! Stripey trousers, floppy hats! They weren’t born to swing a scythe, pay a toll or weigh a tithe. Not for them the horny hand, tied to tilling leaden land. They will never need to chew on millet bread or turnip stew. Red carnations, blue cravattes, body supple, spirit blithe, seguiriya, sarabande, then tomorrow pastures new. 2. COMEDY La Commedia dell’Arte The art of comedy’s a sacred thing, as fresh and precious in its gift of bliss as when a worshipped one’s initial kiss transports us first. Like Fragonard, we swing to Lena Horne’s delightful rites of spring on wings of wonder. No analysis can pull apart a pleasure pure as this. We humans laugh as nightingales might sing. We’re told to think creators must be serious, but humour’s both unruly and imperious, and ridicule’s the boy-god’s sharpest dart. We laugh and learn, though lifeless lead-weights weary us, for dreariness is deadly, deleterious: thank heaven for the comedy of art. 3. OPERA L’Elisir d’Amore To pass a perfect Spring, which never ends! Forever to be handsome, healthy, young, with psalms of sunlight, waiting to be sung! To live a life of love, greet loyal friends, and linger in the vineyard, lost among sweet grapes of laughter, bursting on the tongue! To never know a shadow on the heart – for this, we have the alchemy of art. The sun will always sparkle on the grange, spry sparrows ever skitter to and fro. Sopranos come and tenors tend to go, but music is immortal, doesn’t change. The drama will discard, evolve, accrue, will always sound the same – and always new. 4. VERNACULAR MUSIC Flamenco Song I wasn’t ready for it when it hit. Pathetic, self-absorbed, wallowing in grief, plaiting the threads of self-disgust and wit, I toyed with tragic sonnets for relief. The night was hot. The cleft of Guadalin crammed air, weighed down with jasmine, hard to breathe, like musk in tall clay jars. I heard a skein of song. It rose. It swirled. It dipped and writhed. There, at my window, I was held, transfixed. It was the ancient song of blood and soil. That wailing voice was stinging, bitter – but was mixed with darker tremelos which fizzed and boiled, then sank again. It almost seemed the shock of that shrill voice, embodiment of pain, had stunned guitarist’s hand. His rhythmic knock reminded me of coffins in the rain. Voluptuous and frightening at one time, mellifluous and jarring, fresh yet rotten, the music was both guttural and sublime: my puerile self-obsession was forgotten! 5. SCULPTURE Micaelis Me Fecit There lies a town in northern Spain (thank God it’s little-known!) where every chapel, church and fane is hewn from honey stone. Nice chunky arches, columns too, with barley-sugar twist: and gargoyles, griffins, gremlins who quite cordially coexist. To stroll here is to turn, with love, some bestiary’s bold pages, and marvel at the mindset of those early Middle Ages. Capricious carvings crowd one door, coeval “carls” of Beckett: and, scratched into one caricature, Micaelis Me Fecit. The mason sits in effigy, a chisel in his hand. He eyes us quite audaciously: that look, we understand. He doesn’t care for Time or Fame, or Wealth, or Noble Birth: that “Michael Made Me,” is his claim: and Michael knows his worth. Barrister, teacher and journalist, Michael Coy is an Irish poet who has settled permanently in the south of Spain. He readily admits to a serious rhyme-and-rhythm habit. Winner of various poetry prizes in Britain and Ireland, Michael has been published fairly regularly in the British poetry journal, ”Orbis.” Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) 11 Responses Sathyanarayana November 18, 2019 I loved OPERA the most. Lyrical with soft sounding words. Well knitted meter perfected the craft. Reply Michael Coy November 18, 2019 You are so kind! Thank you for your appreciative words. I cherish them. Michael Reply James A. Tweedie November 18, 2019 Michael, These poems address a subjects that are dear to my heart and soul. For me, at least, they sing. “Like Fragonard, we swing to Lena Horne’s delightful rites of spring on wings of wonder.” “We laugh and learn, though lifeless lead-weights weary us, for dreariness is deadly, deleterious . . .” “The drama will discard, evolve, accrue, will always sound the same – and always new.” What delightful phrases, conjuring up such delightful images! Each expressing the obvious in ways that transform common experiences into deep and profound ones. How appropriate that each of these fine poems should carry the words “Micaelis Me Fecit.” Reply Michael Coy November 18, 2019 My Dear James, Oh my goodness! What a fabulous response! Your warm appreciation is a delight and an encouragement. I am hugely grateful to you! (And the “Micaelis Me Fecit” reference didn’t escape you!) Warm regards, Michael Reply Joseph S. Salemi November 18, 2019 It reminds me that Michelangelo Buonarroti signed his name to the Pieta that he sculpted at the end of the fifteenth century. It can be seen on the band across the Virgin Mary’s chest: MICHAELANGELUS BONAROTUS FLORENTINUS FACIEBAT (Michelangelo Buonarroti the Florentine made [this].) It’s the only time Michelangelo ever signed one of his artworks. Reply C.B. Anderson November 18, 2019 Michael, the flow of vivid images proceeded with nary a hitch. These meaningful poems were, above all, intelligible and sharply executed, and the rhymes were impeccable. In #2, am I correct in thinking that the boy-god is Cupid? Reply Michael Coy November 18, 2019 Hi, C.B.! Thank you so much for your very generous and (if I may say so) extremely perceptive observations! Your compliments are really flattering. And yes, the boy-god is Cupid. Once again, many thanks! Michael Reply C.B. Anderson November 18, 2019 And as for love, romantic comedies do their best to make fun of courtship and marriage, but the best of unions are not something I would care to disparage. There is plenty of love to go around, and its scarcity in specific places is, in my opinion, the only excuse for the notion of redistribution. Monty November 19, 2019 I find myself slightly perplexed as to why you bothered with your recently-attempted translations on these pages . . when it’s now evident that you can write such worthy poetry just in the English. The above work is a thoroughly enjoyable sequence of well-written, near-faultless poems . . . well played. Reply David Watt November 19, 2019 Michael, I love your phrasing in each of these poems. I note that the rhyme pairs in ‘Vernacular Music’ included breathe/writhed, soil/boiled. These pairings, although not exact rhymes, still worked perfectly within this piece. My favourite rhyme overall is: weary us/deleterious. I hope to read more of your work. Reply Lannie David Brockstein November 20, 2019 Hey Michael, As your fourth work listed in this thread is titled “Flamenco Song”, can you please provide us with a link to a video or sound file that features you demonstrating how the melodies of its lines are meant to be sung? From Lannie. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.