Looking for a book, DVD, CD, or other item? Search our catalog!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday, Leonardo!

Leonardo da Vinci was born on this day in 1452. He is generally accepted as an genius, but he is perhaps best known as the painter of the Mona Lisa.

Here is a poem of tribute by Konstantin Balmont:
Leonardo da Vinci

The artist lissome as a leopardess,
And in his wisdom--the first cunning snake.
All his creations has the outbreak--
Scent of the ladanum, belladonna, nardus...

The god of dreams liked tunes that he, a bard, used.
A whiz--he could each mystery unpack
With purr ‘you’re mine’ and with a gentle peck.
So, not in vain, his name is Leonardo.

Of two spread wings--a lion-man he was,
A time bit more--and, with his sharp lynx’s vision,
Just having spied the flight of godly birds,

He was to glide into the airy regions.
Mid humane streams, pursuing the dead glen,
He had divined the future superman.

Translated from Russian by Yevgeny Bonver.

We have dozens of items on the man and his work, as well as works of fiction about da Vinci. One title that intrigues me is by Michael Ennis, The Malice of Fortune [F ENN, also eBook].
A junior Florentine diplomat named Niccolo Machiavelli. An itinerant military engineer named Leonardo da Vinci. And a Borgia scion who emerged from obscurity as the celebrated Duke Valentino. In the autumn of 1502, their fates collided in the remote Italian city of Imola--a meeting of the minds that would forever alter the course of western civilization.

From the The Malice of Fortune website.

A poem, "I Walk Back Nowhere,: by Juan Felipe Herrera makes a reference to da Vinci's visage:
I walk back—nowhere,
under moonlight. The dogs look as if
they are angels, the ones I never imagined,
with drooling silvery rays and torn behinds, yes,
glowing in a strange and excited phosphor,

out of rhythm, racing up trees, chasing
snails. This is like a children's book.

O, yes, the children
with rectangle heads and sack stomachs.
With the eyes of Da Vinci, sad and impish,

Read the rest in Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems [811.54 HER].

Here's a da Vinci self-portrait. I can see the sad, but I don't see the impish:

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt,
and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.

~ Leonardo da Vinci
The Poetry Friday Round-Up this week comes to us courtesy Today's Little Ditty. Say hi to my friend Michelle who is hosting!


  1. "He had divined the future superman." Yup. That Herrera poem is pretty darn super as well! Happy PF, KK.

  2. Cheers to Leonardo! I had the opportunity to see some drawings several years ago at the art museum in Birmingham (AL) - exquisite. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Such an amazing artist. Glad you celebrated his special day.