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Poem by Konstantin Balmont : By the Picture of El Greco



By the Picture of El Greco


On El Greco’s picture shades stretch self to heavens;
Though long, the shadows cannot touch the Grace.
“Where can we find out steps of sacred ladders?
How can the mortals build the airy ways?”
A depressing artist, a seraph rebellious,
You craved for the heavens and you went them in, –
But you lost the battle to Lord, fell from heavens
And was mad – a penance for your awful sin.


Yes, but was your madness just the sacred madness,
And the world, wide-opened, was your prison grim,
You disliked all earthy, all untrue and helpless,
And turned out your vision at your highest dream.
Yes, and all your friars are not shades half-bended,
They are not black crowds of the slaves in bonds,
And their gloomy faces, so strangely stretched,
Greedily stretch self out to resolve the worlds.

Konstantin Balmont


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