He hears the fluttering of wings,
So faintly, And colors like living
Light stream over the faces
To the rhythm of his breath's pulse.
Flames flicker and blur
Above the iron candelabra.
Raphael had held his finger to the sky,
Hoping for the hand of God
To touch and recreate him.
The frescoes had seemed so presently alive,
That Rome was Eden after Genesis,
That painted avatars would step forth
To eradicate the city in favor
Of trees and pure water flowing.
He had dreamed of purple grapes
Bursting on wild vines,
The stars singing in the night ,
Then driven down by the raging sun, The essential center of perception
That flung him circling through space
On the back of the earth.
He had contemplated the void's master,
So glorious in its burning.
No cathedral could match,
By vaults and chromatic glass,
The sacred, spinning universe.
The Inquisition takes him.
He hears the truth softly,
In the delirium of violent dying,
Galileo's whisper, "Yet it turns.
Sees the black and white silk of priests,
A metallic sword stained red.
All of this, and reality remade.
What vision is beyond the wall
That he must die to see?
The refracted brilliance of the sun,
Immersed in futile tragedy?