For the Birds: The Life of Paolo Uccello by Martin Johnston

Uccello once fancied he was turning into cheese,
still, lived “to a disgruntled eighty-three”,
according to the censorious Vasari.
He was the fanatical type, like Spinoza.
He loved pictures of animals and birds,
being unable to afford the creatures themselves
or, like Leonardo, to buy and free them.
When his friend Donatello made fun of him
he stopped painting, saw no one, spent his last years
“solitary, eccentric, melancholy and poor”,
working on intricate technical problems.
His wife said he’d refuse to come to bed,
saying “Oh, what a lovely thing is this perspective!”
He seems to me to have been a happy man.

From: http://jacketmagazine.com/01/mj-late-poems.html

Date: 1990

By: Martin Johnston (1947-1990)

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