Below you will find a poem by Michelangelo Buonarroti that has recently been a favorite at the Ryder Studio. Enjoy!
You have a face more beautiful than a turnip,
Sweeter than mustard; it appears the snail
Has walked on it, it shines so; like a parsnip
The whiteness of your teeth is, and like treacle
The color of your eyes; surely the Pope
To such as this must be susceptible,
Whiter and blonder than a leek your hair;
So I shall die if I don't get your favor.
I think your beauty much more beautiful
Than ever in a church a painted man,
And your mouth is just like a pocketful
Of beans, it seems to me, and so is mine.
Your eyebrows seem dyed in a crucible,
And more than a Syrian bow they twine.
Your cheeks are red and white when you sift flour,
Like fresh cheese and poppies mixed together.
And when I look upon you and each breast,
I think they're like two melons in a satchel,
And then I am like straw, and start to flash,
Although I am bent and broken by the shovel.
Think, if my lovely cup I still possessed,
I'd follow you past others like a beagle,
And if I thought that getting it was possible,
Here and today I'd do something incredible.
From the Complete Poems and Selected Letters of Michelangelo, pp 11-12, translated by Creighton Gilbert.