Archive for the ‘9th century’ Category

RAVENNA

一月 6, 2020

RAVENNA

All sorts of bands
and flowers and strands
and lines and motifs
lie intertwined
beneath the old church
of Santa Eufemia.
Take a close look,
they are dancing,
the lines and so on.
A big Roman house
with courtyards and tiles
all over the floors.
A dance of the seasons.
They say Summer is missing,
or maybe it’s Spring,
holding Winter’s hand,
like Autumn does
on the other side.
Winter is wrapped in blue,
around the head too.
Crooked lines come out
above the head.
Is it a fool?
They say it’s grass,
maybe reeds.
And there is a shepherd,
the second big mosaic,
also with a pan-flute.
Two storeys above
is the old city.
This city below was the western capital
of the Byzantine empire
among other things.
Then there is Dante,
buried in a mound
overgrown with green leaves
all-year round
in 1944 and 1945,
German hell-hounds were loose.
Maybe one year
his bones were in there,
the shape of the mound
reminded me of an old poetess
in China in Xi’an, formerly Chang’an,
the old capital.
Cai Wenji was her name.
Her mound is much bigger,
and very well kept,
much in contrast to all the graves
of famous male poets.
She was politically very important.
Back in Ravenna
in winter
wrapped against the cold
we move on
to our next monument.

MW December 30, 2019

NEON

Neon reigned in 452.
No, this was the year
they built the mosaics
the wonderful dome
under bishop Neon.
It’s the Orthodox baptistery.
Much more elaborate
than the Arian one
across the old city.
Each apostle is named.
Most have a beard.
Simon looks like a woman.
The Arian dome
has only one throne
and here there are four,
they are all empty too
but there are also four books
in between, the four gospels.
Blessed are those whose iniquities
and sins are remitted,
says one inscription.

MW December 30, 2019

IVORY THRONE

The ivory throne
was for Bishop Maximian,
550 or something.
Joseph and his brothers.
Jesus feeds 5000 people.
The annunciation,
the water test
for Mary’s virginity.
What was that exactly?
Carved panels in different sizes
all around the back and on the sides.
Blank parts in between,
maybe panels are missing.
Ebony covered with ivory.
Somewhere in the museum
with Saint Andrew’s chapel,
wonderful mosaics.
Then in the afternoon
Saint Apollinaire in Classe.
Classe was the harbour
of the Roman fleet
and the main port
until the ninth century.
The church is huge,
and there were more,
there is a museum
in the sugar factory,
closed in 1982.
The sea isn’t far.

MW December 30, 2019

SAN VITALE IN RAVENNA

You know right away
you are in a place of worship.
In this way it’s like the Alhambra.
At least I hope the Alhambra retains it,
haven’t been there for 38 years.
A sense of awe
and exultation,
no matter how many people,
how many tourists.
Very big, very grand, spacious.
Filigree columns, needlework stone.
Very very high, many arches.
Mosaics.
Some of the best ones
in this splendid city.
A sacred place.
Stay.
The whole city is sacred.
Drink,
try to retain
some of this beauty.

MW December 31st, 2019

 

 

 


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