Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Lucy, Fresco and Masaccio

Here is the first Lucy poem, written in 1798 when William Wordsworth and sister Dorothy were spending a miserable winter in Germany.

Strange fits of passion have I known: And I will dare to tell,
But in the Lover's ear alone,
What once to me befell.
When she I loved looked every day Fresh as a rose in June,

I to her cottage bent my way, Beneath an evening-moon.
Upon the moon I fixed my eye,
All over the wide lea;
With quickening pace my horse drew nigh Those paths so dear to me.

And now we reached the orchard-plot; And, as we climbed the hill,
The sinking moon to Lucy's cot
Came near, and nearer still.
In one of those sweet dreams I slept, Kind Nature's gentlest boon!

And all the while my eyes I kept
On the descending moon.
My horse moved on; hoof after hoof He raised, and never stopped:
When down behind the cottage roof, At once, the bright moon dropped.

What fond and wayward thoughts will slide
Into a Lover's head!
"O mercy!" to myself I cried,
"If Lucy should be dead!"

I remember such a cottage in Germany where 'Lucy' meant 'Light' and Rilke was my poet.

'Light' radiates from Masaccio's frescos in Florence. The texture of fresco can't be reproduced on a screen and if touched the chalky pigments would slowly rub away. Such is my vision, bright and verging on overexposed. I remember the frescoed feet, soft, larger than life. If we washed these feet they would vanish away but Lucy's delicate feet flex in the water, are warm to my soft soapy touch and walk away leaving memories on the stone floor.

The reproduction is of a fresco by Masaccio showing the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.


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