By on Feb 21, 2021 in Poetry

Young woman singing behind a cloud of darks and lights

Not once have I wept over art
in the Louvre, Uffizi or Met.
Well, almost over van der Weyden’s
Descent in the Prado, Mary’s grief,
but that may have been indigestion
after Madrid’s tapas, the Museum of Ham.
A lithograph in Chelsea,
Kathe Kollwitz’s dead mother and child
splayed, stiff, discarded on the curb,
brought a single, quiet tear.

At the reception, the gallery on Water Street,
I am at first preoccupied with drawings,
paintings, prints, porcelain; delicate, curious
assemblages, diminutive Constructivism;
with wine, cheese and those gooey sweets
with marshmallows, coconut and caramel;
with the hot breath of claustrophobic
conversation. In a corner, a soprano,
hired for the evening, presses “play”
for her boom box accompaniment.
Unexpectedly, the press of gawkers hushed,
from this spare, pretty young woman an aria.

At my age, too cynical or circumspect,
on most days, I assume nothing
may move me so again, but with
her voice, sobs come suddenly,
exquisitely pure, crystalline tears.
All pretense and pettiness fall away.
Instantly, this moment is beauty.
I am Saint Teresa in Ecstasy,
her voice piercing me with divinity.
However skeptical my arrogant past,
this, at last this, must be God’s love.


David Sapp is a writer, artist and professor living along the southern shore of Lake Erie in North America. He is a 2018 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award grant recipient for poetry. His poems have appeared widely in a number of venues across the United States, in Canada and the United Kingdom. His publications also include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior; chapbooks Close to Home and Two Buddha; and his novel, Flying Over Erie.