( A tribute to Michelangelo’s Captive , unfinished marble sculpture circa 1506 AD. )
The figure with arching tendons and fear
of closed spaces bides its day –
veiled behind timelines in brilliant stone.
Each time the mallet swoops in,
with its promise of open skies and applause,
the dusty air in the workshop wobbles;
inch by inch, the tether of fate loosens its
grip, and the flaky skin of time floats away.
The sculptor stands in the grey wilderness –
the whelming mist of shifting shapes
and mournful ghosts that haunt him.
Biding their release through his tremulous fingers –
for if they don’t like the mineral home
that he’s built, then they will return to haunt
until he gets it right or taunt
when he gives up in mortal defeat.