The cathedral of st Andrew

THE CATHEDRAL OF ST. ANDREW . . . BORDEAUX

for Juan Vicente Melo

I

the eye climbs the cluster of columns at each new height

a new panorama unfolds until we reach the summit

which is a star of converging ogives

 

from

there

the gaze slips down attracted

by a glitter of jewels that stand out against      the      darkness

 

and then the ogives'

clustered colors

follow

each

 

other

offering

from the depths of darkeness

kaleidoscopic                  configuration

the eye does not rest

 

each line

coherent

dazzling constellation

II

I return the following day

 

the cathedral has changed
fixed
                immobile

 

a stony projection

 

its solidity blocking

the eye's passage

the stone remains unchanged    but no longer does it say the same thing the word

that intends to endure like the stone

will it also lose its substance?

 

will it also be a gray wall immobile blocking the passage to the eye?

 

Ill

I return to the show of impressionist painting

 

in the center of the salon

 

I am welcomed by an enormous canvas by Manet

 

which directs at me       the sad eyes and weary

gaze

of the aging prostitute

who has seen too much

 

but I am unable

to regain the vision

 

that only yesterday

 

filled me with light      and air

 

 

though I am standing before the same canvas of Berthe Morissot

 

IV

 

I return once more

in quest of the cathedral I find a third one innocent

sun-drenched

 

neither ecstatic nor harsh

simple      ingenuous stone

bathed in sunlight

 

surrounded by gardens

on whose benches children    mothers    old people    and couples

 

 

rest

chat

and wait for the bus

 

V

I see                                I saw                              I will see

I don't see now what I saw yesterday I remember

that yesterday I saw

but now I cannot

I try

to see again

it is impossible

I only see

another detail

 

in another way with other eyes

VI

 

I enter the cathedral

 

now

its ogives trace an immense gray sunflower of stone

its borders expand filling time and space I am a prisoner in the center of this endless spinning that spins along taking each eternal moment with it

 

and I at its center spin dazzled by this spinning of successive worlds

 

VII

a useless exertion      that of the word and of the stone

made to endure which spins around me

and drags me forward

everything ends      and nothing is repeated but you and I are fated

to go on seeking

 

a word        that will perhaps       survive so that my eye

may be reborn in your gaze and the sunflower keep on

spinning

 

toward nothing