Where are the artists now of yore,
Talent oozing from ev’ry pore,
Who made out of Scripture’s pages,
Art that lasted through the ages?
With great skill and brushes of gold,
In manuscripts rare and now old,
they worked out illumination,
which now with much rumination,
we wonder in awe at their craft,
Studying letters’ fore and aft.
Where now are the Renaissance men,
Like Leonardo was back then?
Even his sketches in graphite
Are an extraordinary sight.
Now, his drawings of his machines,
his Vitruvian Man long and lean,
Are kept under glass for our view,
Preserved in peachy sepia hues.
They then continue to amaze,
All those who upon them will gaze.
© Susan Joy Clark 2021
This was written for Linda Kruschke’s Paint Chip Poetry challenge, where we were challenged to write an ubi sunt poem featuring three of the paint chip words. A few of these words like “octopus” were a bit strange this time, but the words “illumination” and “graphite” immediately struck me as having artistic applications. I thought I could work “peachy” in there too.
Below is a paragraph taken from Linda’s page, which she took from John Drury’s poetry dictionary on the ubi sunt poetry form.
UBI SUNT (uh’-suhnt’, “uh” pronounced as in “put”; Latin, “where are”) Poetic theme in which the poet asks “where are” certain people, where have they gone. The theme began in Medieval Latin, with the formula ubi sunt used to introduce a roll call of the dead or missing and to suggest how transitory life is.
The best-known ubi sunt poem [is] François Villon’s ballade whose refrain is “But where are the snows of yester-year?”