The School of Athens
They look to tired critics like mere busts
In galleries, but wittingly collected,
By bold anachronism resurrected,
This flesh so warm a skeptic almost trusts
The felt, unliteral fidelity
That framed them under sky and vaulting roof:
The red-cloaked Heracleitus still aloof,
Parmenides still pondering "to be,"
Young Aristotle marking out this world,
Old Plato pointing upward to the forms.
Behind them rise dear clouds, heartbreaking
Lightning that Zeus and gray Jehovah hurled,
And from a corner, winkingly alive,
The face of Raphael at twenty five.
____; originally printed in Italian Americana.
Reprinted by permission of the author.