Polly

Writings and Witterings

Michelangelo

20 Comments

First line from ‘The Munich Mannequins’ by Sylvia Plath

Michelangelo

‘Perfection is terrible, it cannot have children’
Sterile, frustrated, it comes to decay
Michelangelo wept when he found perfection
Took up his hammer to do it away.
None stayed his hand as he lunged at his David
Breaking his heart on that cool summer day
Birthing his talent
The last chip was chipped off
The warm marble block with its dust sweet bouquet.
Perfection,
Deception,
Confection of lies.
Conception of lies.
He did it away.

Polly Robinson © 1988

Shared with dVerse poets on the Open Link Night – week 63

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20 thoughts on “Michelangelo

  1. Whew! This is interesting. I am wondering what the story is behind it, whether Michelangelo DID destroy an earlier David. In any case, when you really think about perfection, it IS unattainable…I think. One can approach it, but never really achieve it. Unless one is the Supreme Being.

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    • Mary, according to The Agony and The Ecstasy by Irving Stone, he did indeed take up his hammer, it was, he considered ‘too perfect’ … happily he didn’t ‘do it away’ but someone else had a go at a later date! ~ many thanks for your comments 🙂

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      • Interesting, Polly. I am glad he didn’t do it too. And yes, I do know someone else had a go at one of Michelangelo’s works a couple decades ago….except wasn’t that the Pieta?

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        • I saw the Pieta both before and after the latest attempt … sadly it seems that there are so many things of beauty that ignorance ~ for whatever reason ~ wishes to destroy

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  2. ugh…perfection is an allusion too many fall upon….i like the story of coming close to perfection and destroying it…surely it will destroy us if we dont…smiles.

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  3. This is a really intriguing piece of writing. Like Mary, I’m wondering whether the story you tell really happened. I’m also wondering about perfection – particularly the static conception of perfection that many of us have swallowed without question.

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    • Hi Tony, like I’ve said to Mary, according to The Agony and The Ecstasy by Irving Stone, he did indeed take up his hammer, it was, he considered ‘too perfect’ … happily he didn’t ‘do it away’ but someone else had a go at a later date! Now whether dear Irving was employing some poetic licence … 🙂

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  4. perfection always scares me as it leaves no room to breathe freely… and there’s much beauty in imperfection…

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  5. What this poem made me think was that so often when we do attain perfection, we do our best to destroy it, however unintentionally.

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  6. Perfectionism will break people. They are people who live in squalor, surrounded by boxes, dishes in sinks…when it is no longer feasible they give up on everything. Michaelangelo did achieve perfection and he signed it…the Pieta, and then some jealous crazy took his hammer to it. I saw it for the second time in Rome…it’s behind bullet proof glass now in the dark. That marble was meant for the light as it was in New York where it seemed to breathe. Claudia is right – freedom, choice, imagination cannot occur in the regimentalism of perfection. Well said here!

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    • I cried when I saw the Pieta, it is so utterly beautiful … first time I saw it was before ‘the crazy’, second time it was in the bullet proof cabinet, so sad.

      Love your comments Gay, thank you.

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  7. He was a genius yet there is something beautiful about imperfection.

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  8. agreeable statements.

    thumbs up.

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