Durer: Innsbruck, 1495

Poem By James Phillip McAuley

I had often, cowled in the slumbrous heavy air,
Closed my inanimate lids to find it real,
As I knew it would be, the colourful spires
And painted roofs, the high snows glimpsed at the back
All reversed in the quiet reflecting waters –
Not knowing than that Durer perceived it too.
Now I find that once more I have shrunk
To an interloper, robber of dead men’s dreams,
I had read in books that art is not easy
But no one warned that the mind repeats
In its ignorance the vision of others. I am still
The black swan of trespass on alien waters.

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