Thursday, January 30, 2014

Love at the Fountain of Life (Giovanni Segantini), Sonnet #160

Beside the fountain a stunted, misshapen tree
Is about to take the lovers' testimony,
One secret word the woman will laughingly carve
Deep into its flaking and lichen-mottled bark.
This is long before the ages when men will starve
In deserts, murder prophets, need to build an ark.
An angel dutifully guards the fountain; bored,
Lonely, she hardly notices lovers approach.
She remains unseen until the word is scored,
A blasphemy deserving the sternest reproach,
Which, alas, it's not given her to deliver.
Her wings shield her own eyes from their eternal shame.
"Drink here," she says, "from this fountain, this life-giver."
With a sip each lover forgets the other's name.