Michelangelo’s David

Nobody traced a sonnet with any other view

than the intense one you cast on one you pitied and then slew –

that loving mix of mercy with a hint of disgust

which is the mark of someone who’s marbled out of dust.

Some say no rhyme can satisfy – time has too rough a skill

to halt the pressured arc of youth un-flexed to flex the kill;

that there's no meter indented enough to seem so real

as the imprint of a pair of thighs the fingertips can feel.

Yet the surface of your skin's not left by marks that do not press

against the paper of nothing, impermeably undressed,

and your body does not harden to a nib that does not rest

upon the blank sheet of nothing with nothing to express

unless unflesh could flesh the life to feel, you could not say

‘Unlike black marks un-masking white, I only turn one way.’