Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toth

This is my Calvary
The pietà is over
I've walked the earth for thirty-two years
My mother never cried
My arms outstretched with violence
Ever spinning 'round my head in thorny blooms
I forgive Michaelangelo
The image of myself will be rent asunder
I forgive the prison guards
This, my world, is darkening
I forgive the passers-by
For they know not what they do.


I was listening to a podcast that mentioned Laszlo Toth, and his attacking the Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica in 1972. I didn't know much about the story and honestly still don't. Basically he was a crazy man who was under the impression that he was Jesus Christ, and went at the statue with a geologist's hammer. He ended up in an asylum in Italy and was eventually released to Austrailia where he still lives.
I suppose a man thinking he was the resurrected Jesus Christ attacking a statue of Jesus Christ and His mother was a powerful image for me, and that poem was the result. I'm not quite satisfied with all of it. There are things I'd like to add and some things I'd like to polish, but I suppose it's that way with everything we write.

6 comments:

  1. You know, I've been reading about schizophrenia for class, and my book said one of the more common symptoms (if the person is thinking he/she is someone else) is the person thinking he or she is Jesus or God. Weird, eh?

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  2. Totally normal right? I think I am someone else...quite obviously it's Jesus, not like a maid from the 18th century or the bum down the road. Nope, I'm the King of Kings. Yes, makes sense.

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  3. Well, it does if you take people's egos into account. We're always going to want to be or think we are a little better. Or, the best.

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  4. It’s perfect!

    I’ve never heard the story of Toth myself, but it’s spontaneous encounters with things like that that provoke the poetic pulse in me. Great poem- I’m glad you seized on the moment and allowed the Muse to move.

    What you mentioned in you commentary reminded me of a quote by Paul Valery, a French poet who was part of the Symbolist movement … it’s this:

    “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.”

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  5. John: Thank you! And thanks for the quote. Actually, you recently wrote about Auden on your blog, and he was always working and reworking his poems. That's what I tend to do, but my style is obviously quite different from Auden. :)

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Dialogue with me...