The city willed by Venus1 offered Beauty’s
First affront. Our friend, then only three,
Had already been deceived by the Colosseum,
By its promises of cruor and funk:
The charm of ruins bespeaks one’s creed;
At his age one feeds on Druid axiom.
He and his grandmother—cicerone to him
In his excursions—had just left church
For Piazza del Popolo’s vast embrace.
She who leaves not artists in the lurch,
The eternal form, the eidos2, lay in ambush
Before his face; to catch his eye She’d worn
A coat of snow—rare garment for that place
And one, to him, entirely unknown. Thorn pricked
As he grasped the rose; a rush of questions
Stormed the soul: if such Beauty existed,
Had not the sermon been doubly dull?
And why, though she knew it did, had grandmother
Not told him? It was not to reprimand her
That he voiced his wonder at this lacuna
In her version, though the great big dirty
Conscience of the world had dawned.