A Treatise on Michelangelo


A man paints with his brains
Not with his hands
A woman makes music not with her fingers
But with her heart
Death and love move the artist

We all labour to the genius
Of our own absolute love
But we must learn eternal patience
For faith in oneself is always
the best and safest course

In this brute world of circumstance
Our fate can change in an hour
If we have been pleased with life
We should not be displeased with death
Since all art comes in the end

From the same master
Still then would I hope that
I may always desire more than
I can humanly accomplish, therefore
That the art of God may shine in me

Not for any personal glory but
For the human good, for that spirit
I live and love in God’s peculiar light
And my soul can find no staircase to heaven
Unless it be through Earth’s loveliness.

3 thoughts on “A Treatise on Michelangelo

  1. I found this book of poems by Jonathan Aldrich called the Death of Michelangelo. Here’s one:

    The dome. It gathers air,
    but here in my studio I would join
    my God quietly. I work for pardon.
    All day there are too many noises.
    Pitiful only to begin to learn my work
    so late when I am dying. Nothing is done-
    a candle on my cap at night flickers on this
    shadowy thin pieta. I knocked some pieces

    to the floor. Little is right,
    here and outside, everywhere-stupidities
    and loss surround me. Now better not
    to speak, to be quiet, to sleep, to be
    numb while the layers slide off, days go, voices
    fall away. Make me the stone.

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