Michelangelo

from by Jen Zimberg

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lyrics

michelangelo

(after Rilke’s short story, “The Man Who Listened to Stones”)

with dusted hands upon the rock
the master waits and listens
what work will call to him from out
the marmoreal abyss

the sculptor’s hands awaken then
and strengthen moving restlessly
he pulls upon the rock as if
a voice within were fading

*michelangelo,
who is in the stone?
michelangelo,
who is in the stone?
who is in the stone?

you oh lord
who else who else?
but i can’t get at you

and as a bird on winged heights
finds easily her landed flock
the sculptor knows there must be three
three figures in this small block

first he frees the shoulders broad
and the body in the woman’s arms
though he dare not lift her marble veil
lest her grief should fall and lame him
*
next with looming obscure plans
he climbs the quarry high
the faded rock a chiseled brow
the face of one who’s waiting

tall the master grows above the hill
and the olive trees
“you shall be my work,” he says
to the mountain and the evening

michelangelo,
michelangelo?

then homeward he began his way
til at the village gates he paused
the narrow streets stuck out their arms
and pulled him homeward shrinking

pressed in by the house as if
some mystery would shape him
and to this force he did submit
humbled by his limits

michelangelo,
who is in you?
michelangelo,
who is in you?
who is in you?

michelangelo,
who is in you?
michelangelo,
who is in you?
who is in you?

you oh lord
who else who else who else?
who else.

credits

from What Sings, released September 7, 2019

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Jen Zimberg Hudson, New York

singer/songwriter, modern folk

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