Works of Mercy


If we must die, let it happen. Have it
Captured in stillness: If truly, you and I
Must lay to rest, then let it happen under
The easel. It might be best: and I daresay
That, when old Caravaggio dropped dead –
After all the rumours, the interpretations
Of his sultry gods and their mortal acolytes –
He danced to the floor, one arm arced
In mid-descent, his entire, raging form
Naked in mortality. I think he would have
Appreciated the flesh tones, contours wrought
To utter relief in the gesture, his composition
Final as he fell; his lily-white fragility
Left to lie on his own grave, slave of art.


If you don’t know much about Caravaggio, look him up. You’ll surprise yourself. 



7 thoughts on “Works of Mercy

  1. You strike a powerful tone here. I especially like “let it happen under the easel” and the implied exclamation mark that follows. The lines starting with “he danced to the floor” to the end are describing a delicate collapse but they feel fierce, despite his “lily-white fragility.” Do you mind if I add it to a writing challenge?

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