I've written several poems about the work of the celebrated Scottish-Italian artist Eduardo Paolozzi. One of his monumental sculptures is of Vulcan, the Roman God of fire and metal-working. He appears to stride through the hall of the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, (Modern 2).
You are daunting, Vulcan, towering above me.
Art shows magnificence well within your grasp
as with your gammy leg and platform heels
you stride the shining hall, hammer in hand.
We could do with you in goal for Scotland:
4 six-footers barely have your reach, your metal.
You were top-drawer: son of Juno and Jupiter,
the royalty of gods. But in her regal eyes
you didn’t make the bonnie baby grade.
There’s something vulnerable still lurking
that brings out the mother in me. I want to
shine your steel, make you gleam and sparkle.
You could be the patron saint of blacksmiths
as you were first to find the skills and secrets
of the craft. Or perhaps for single mothers,
in praise of Thetis who rescued you from
your abandonment, and brought you up;
never noticed you were ugly or deformed.
Or maybe you should be the patron saint
of all those judged too flawed; of those whose
inner strength and spirit is what truly counts.
Stride on, half-man and half-machine, under
those majestic heavens. The more I look at you
the more I see a beauty in your fabled strength.
unpublished poem, © Christine De Luca 2016, used by permission of the author