NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 22

Today’s prompt: “write a poem that engages with another art form.” (

On Viewing Michelangelo’s David at 45°

Roughly 45° is all it took
to reduce a symbol of strength
to a pillar of uncertainty.
How unexpected: to see stone
tremble in fear by simply
shifting 45° to the right.

They say the David was meant
to stand outside in a square
on a tall pedestal. That this
perspective is why the proportions
are all wrong. But his disproportions
don’t map neatly onto a upward gaze.

His hand along his leg: too big,
his feet: too large, his head:
too small. Why would a master craftsman,
legendary for his command of chisel
and stone and polish, a man who
breathed life into marble, who

Freed forms from their captivity,
why would a consummate artist
make their David so wrongly?
From the front, one apprehends
strength of stance, surety of
purpose, righteousness of cause.

The too-large feet give solid
footing. The too-big hand holding
the historic stone, exuding power.
His face, side-on, looking to the
horizon, sure and purposeful. This is
a Biblical David, the Goliath slayer.

But walk 45° to the right, to
view him obliquely: his footing now
unsure, his stance twisting, off-
balance, his strong hand hidden from view.
His face, seen full-on: childlike, soft,
brow furrowed, wide eyes filled with fear.

This 45° rotated David is just a boy,
facing his impending doom and defeat
at the hands of a giant. A boy afraid
to do what must be done. This is the fear
that must be overcome each time we face
our obstacles, never sure of victory.

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