Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Giordano Bruno Is Dismissed by Elizabeth, Queen of England

Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Giordano Bruno Is Dismissed by Elizabeth, Queen of England

Article excerpt

And she over whose small prim bosom

The oiled and scented fingers of handmaidens fluttered as they trussed her

In the corset and darkened the cheeks and fastened to the thin

Pale neck the terrible weight of the jewels, how was she to understand

Such a man-

Italian, itinerant, Dominican-

Who gestured this way and that, his eyes darting, the words he spoke

Betraying the great cosmologists. Next he would be usurping

The minds of the peasants and roiling the courriers; Aristotle, she did not care

One way or another for Aristode, but the universe

The Greeks ordained, with its sturdy

Above and belowness, and the hierarchies that universe held in place, the solid

Inviolate edifice upon which indeed her crown lay-

(Oh her head ached under it).

But this poet, this beautiful deft mind,

For a moment she saw it flitting as a bird might, free, high up

In the stony cold light streaming in

Through the clerestory of a basilica . . .

He had at first amused her, had strangely brought a faint warmth

To her loins, yet today it seems Bruno rubs the air raw

With all his talk, why, he is as primal as the earth itself

Whose sod was not to be wondered at, not to be loved or cherished,

But worked. And now (she glances away, musing)

As dusk steals from the forests and the air hones its chill

And her peasants lie down on their straw, their empty bellies

Flat as their purses,

They bless her, she who is

England itself, jewel of God's eye, the still point

Over which the sun climbs and sets, and beyond, the heavenly bodies

In the spacious universe, turning, making music. …

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