Poem introduction

On studying the intense drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci I always wonder if the act of drawing is a way, his way, of trying to break open the existence of the thing he is drawing, and that by doing so it may give up answers to its mystery.

Leonardo's Skull

Drawing inside the hospital 
of Santa Maria Nuova
I return to him again. 
The boy felled in the piazza, 
thrashing like a hundred 
harvest scythes, snowdrifts 
mounting the battlements of his lips. 
I’ve many questions, 
about his skull, its knobbly frame, 
scaffold around the brain,
a wizened walnut,
gilded in its bloody tomb.
Probing with my pen
is as good as any blade,
as any weapon in the morgue.

Today we tinker with pills –
but how much better
than a nib, 
Latin in the margins?
Today we call them ‘fits’,
dances in the dark,
not the ancients, 
‘Kiss of Artemis.’ Kiss? 
No something darker –
a work in collaboration –
with some demon imp, 
each dance a repetition 
of a previous draft, 
complete with staccato.

Should we fear the brain? 
We know the messenger,
crafty and winged,
struggle without its tip-off.
My son says Leonardo 
would recognise a puddara –
but his aura? 


unpublished poem, © Jane Weir 2015, used by permission of the author

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Recordings

Jane Weir Downloads

1On the Recommendation of Ovid We Tried a Weasel

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2In Commemoration of a Live Birth

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3When Considering Whether to Suckle

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4Quinces

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5Leonardo's Skull

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6The Star of Verona

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7Slip Road with Indigo Sky and Pussy Willows

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8Snout of the Mole

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9With Matt Staring at Ferrets

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10Making Calico Canvases for Heddle

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11Practising on Your Mother

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12English Book

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13Heights of Abraham

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14A Hank of Yellow Wool in a Landscape

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15Poppies

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161914, Working With Red in a Field Hospital, Belgium

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17Stricken Fields

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18I'm Trying to Make Gnocchi for Angelina for Old Times Sake

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19Recovering

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20Stomacher

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21Hat

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22Cigar

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23We Discuss D.H. Lawrence's Story, The Fox

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24Reading Your Spring Letter, Postmarked Middleton - By - Wirksworth

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25Stood At Alan Bates' Grave

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26There, In An Ercol Bottom Draw

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