It’s All One Thing #254: Botticelli’s Labyrinth


 

Our labyrinth, now inlaid marble tiles on Cathedral floor
Digitally cut by water jet each tile with its own number
The masons didn’t even know what they were even making
Until it appeared under their hands emerging by magic
On the inter-nets it’s comes up as Botticelli’s Labyrinth
Although no one has proved Botticelli actually drew one
There’s (as they say) a legend of the Egyptian Labyrinth
Which was also in Jerusalem where in ancient church rite
Of first Christians it was an initiation into Holy Communion
For new members of the faith passing from lessons and psalms
To the mystery of body and blood I finally found its first incarnation
At La Basilica San Vitale in Ravenna its path of stone chained arrow
Heads lead to the center where when I stood after many little steps
And looked up there was Jesus in the sanctuary arch looking down
From a 360 degree rainbow while in the Presbytery vault behind
Was the Lamb of God golden halo in midst the stars of heaven
In the circle of life until looking way back over my head I
See installed a millennium later up in the dome there is this
Vision of Renaissance done in 3-D vanishing point perspective
The vault of heaven with angels ascending to the Glory of God
Unitary sight of the printed page whose focal point was down
In the labyrinth as if I was the camera obscura eye in mosaic
Maze seeing the imperial pyramid, Jesus and the disciples the arch
The Lamb of God the vault of the inner sanctum Jesus through
Out with the angels and saints, the three angels visit to Abraham
Angelic presence to stay his hand for poor Isaac on the altar
Sarah and Abraham offering them selves, the Israelites at Mount Sinai
Oh Moses and Jeremiah, oh, the lines of sediment on polished columns
Oh, this hierarchical order, until you finally look up from the center
Of Botticelli’s Labyrinth one more time to see the face of Jesus
Concerned, knowing, calm as if seeing glowing rainbow entire
Looking right down at you the revolutionary of non-violence
Still there after all these centuries in midst all this Empire art.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

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