It is said that M
of the squashed nose
large arms and larger reputation
Went to sea with his only child, his daughter,
Dead of a broken neck, little cross-eyed thing.
He laid her arms left above right,
Her legs straight with toes pointed upward.
In a vessel of floating wood
M drifted into the sea from the mouth of Ostia,
And asked the salt water to take them to Paros.
Past Naples, past Brindisi,
Taken by the current into the Aegean,
Trusting in the pull of Paros.
Parched and exhausted even of dreams
Dragged ashore in Paros by startled fishermen M awoke to
The fishermen pounding live octopi.
This island is all about pounding,
From mollusks to hammers and chisels.
M came through the treacherous Cycladic sea to Paros
To bury his daughter with her exact likeness in stone:
A Parian doll with painted crossed eyes
Crossed arms, arched back with toes pointed
upward with a
This tale is true
for I saw with my own eyes
The tell-tale signature of M
carved inside the marble quarry of Paros.
After her entombment,
After his bereavement,
M remained in the quarry living on sea creatures and wine.
He chiseled day in day out into his final years,
Making not the figures for which he was famous
But four spheres
in homage to Giotto.
For the tale goes thus:
Giotto drew a perfect circle for the Pope as proof of his abilities.
M carved four planets of marble
After which he died content
on the island of Paros.
The fishermen laid him beside his daughter and doll
Both necks broken
With his four spheres
Into his wooden boat
Into the quarry