’Tis I Master, Francesco, come
to awaken you for noon refreshment.
See how he sleeps; as easily
in this Gaulish air, thick with Cypress dust
and auzels’ jammerings, as once he lay
under a lighter sky atop that hill
in Val d’Arno that he knew so well.
How frequently I saw him walking there
watching the weaving birds, stooping
to scrutinize a leaf or flower,
and having come upon some realization
of their trick his eyes would brighten
with familiar excitation. How excellent
his knowledge was of those surroundings,
of each gully throbbing with spring rain,
each trilling gullet’s nest,
each flower’s season in the sun.
But when he sought to come to canvas
with this, brush the source
of these investigations into shapes
that would reveal all that the mind revered
and understood, he would be irked