Archive for November 1st, 2020

Sunday, 1 November 2020

All Saints’ Day by Warren Leamon

A solitary tree atop a mountain rises
straight against a cloudless sky, and I remember
what the medieval painters would have seen:
a cross devoid of depth, flat from head to foot,
from nail to bloody nail, all lines of vision ending
in the innocent agony of a dying man.
We can’t say what they saw was mere distortion
(any serf knew well the depth of hill and sky);
nor can we say they saw no beauty in the world
(like us they loved lush color, reds and blues and yellows
split by smoke twisting up through icy air).
We can only say they knew too well the limits
of the flesh and caught on stark flat surfaces the truth
that haunts me now in the cold fields of November.

From: Leamon, Warren, “All Saints’ Day” in The Sewanee Review, Volume 120, Number 1 (Winter 2012), p. 30.

Date: 2012

By: Warren Leamon (1938-2017)