Florence Cathedral at Night in Florence - Italy
Duomo, Florence
by Neil Creighton

You come upon it suddenly,
meandering through narrow streets,
past beige, time-coated buildings,
turning down the curve of Via de’ Martelli,
casually drawing near to the street’s end
and then you gasp.

You come upon it unprepared,
seeing at first only the soaring facade
and the enormity of its tower,
but turning into Piazza del Duomo
you see its length, the immensity of its domes,
and again you gasp.

You come upon it in amazement,
seeing it as glistening white marble
with geometric patterns in pink and green,
embroidered, scrolled, balanced, harmonious,
exquisite in scope and detail,
and again you gasp.

You come to it in awe,
its front a composition in threes:
three great doors rise in elegant curves;
above them three circles spoked like sunbeams;
always the one in the center is highest or largest
and you think you understand.

You come to its details:
complex, embroidered patterns in stone;
paintings in colored stone above each door;
lines of sculptured figures in porticoes of blue
and circular inlays glinting with gold
and you feel overwhelmed.

Perhaps later you will walk through the doors
and again feel its power and artistry,
or you will climb the narrow stairwell
to the dome’s dizzying height
but now, in this first sudden moment
you are overcome by its beauty
and, dimly realizing its complex grandeur,
praise the vision that conceived it,
the capabilities that built it,
the artistry that embellished it,
the materials that adorn it
and you stop, stand still, and stare.

PHOTO: Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo, Florence, Italy) by Pitinan, used by permission.

Duomo, Florence
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Back in the days when travel was possible, my wife and I loved to travel. Italy is very special and I wrote a great deal there. Here I try to capture that sense of suddenly coming upon an architectural masterpiece.

Neil Creighton copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Neil Creighton is an Australian poet whose work as a teacher of English and Drama brought him into close contact with thousands of young lives, most happy and triumphant but too many tragically filled with neglect. It made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work often reflects strong interest in social justice. He has been widely published, both online and in hard copy. He is a contributing editor at Verse-Virtual,  an online poetry journal. His chapbook, Earth Music, was published by Praxis Magazine Online in 2020. Loving Leah was published this year by Kelsay Books and Rock Dreaming has been selected for publication by the same publisher.

PHOTO: Duomo (Florence, Italy) by the author.