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Image by Caroline Forbes

The easel of Mantegna

Kelly Grovier


The easel of Mantegna

Kelly Grovier


The easel of Mantegna

The easel of Mantegna

Empty-armed, like a soldier,
waiting for the deposition
still to happen, watching

as the rough skin is stretched
across the squat square ribs
and stapled, scraped

with a palette-knife, before
the morbid undertaking
of the gesso and the paint.

Or say instead, you always
were inclined to play
an active role in this,

our cruellest fiction: empty-
angled and pristine save
where you were brushed

with the death and cleansed
with the dizzy stench of spirit.
You are the awkward ladder,

the hallowed steps, the endless
air forever drifting through
the thin rafters of an unroofed

steeple - on or in or out of
whom the wide sound
of resurrection still remains

for us a thing we listen for
in silence:
untolled, unrunged.


from A Lens in the Palm (Carcanet, 2008), © Kelly Grovier 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Recordings

Kelly Grovier Reading from his Poems

1The shed

2The stars

3The easel of Mantegna

4The ancient of days

5Rodin's Balzac

6Camping Out

7Rain, Steam and Speed

8Tens and eight

9The lens

10The needle

11Ghosting

12Lost

13The lost room

14The recipe

15Table Saw

16Furcula

17Lacewing

18St Augustine's Abbey

19Conversions

20The astrologers

21The Book of Clues

22Giftings

23Icon

24A spider in Trinity College Chapel

25Fra Angelico

26Les Parapluies

27The triple tree

28Of thought - the train

29Mincing Words

30There

31'Nor even yet quite relinquish'

32The Consolation of Philosophy

33The frequency

34Metaphysics

35Spinnings

36Tractatus

37The night is like a dinosaur

38Via negativa

39April Morning

40The meadow

41Palms

42Wan Hu's flying chair

43Murmuration

44Söl

45Hurricane Alley

46The Ruined Statue of a Saint

47Pancho Villa

Books & cds by Kelly Grovier