Two Poems

by Dean Graham

 

donatello

st john the evangelist
was a
masterpiece—
redefining the age
whatever
that means.
he was the renaissance:
the man in the center
of a new world that put man
at the
            center.
but even a great artist
grows old
especially a great artist
grows old

old and arthritic
and now the marble
was too hard
his hands were
            too weak
and the pragmatists were
on to something
because it turns out
talent is not enough
to make you great
your vision doesn't matter
if your hands
can't
hold a chisel

 

The Exhumation of John Milton

the poet's tooth
snapped off with a
   pop as the gravedigger

reached down to be
the first to gather his
   literary souvenir

soon it would all be
   gone—the hair and
the teeth and even

the ribs as men
reached the height
   of irreverence

in their reverence
for a once-great poet,
then a corpse lying

quiet under the ground,
now just a collection
of bones, for the poet

could keep nothing
when he passed from this world
   not even his teeth


Thumbnail image by Evelyn Stetzer.