Paul Violi

At the Chapel Cardinal Finale

Here is a painting on wood
by an unknown hand,
of hearty fishermen in an open boat,
hauling a cow  out of the Bay of Naples.
This painting smells:
an unfortunate odor no one
can eradicate or name.

Here, too, is a painting of the savior
from whose eyes many have attested
they have seen real tears fall.
And I for one believe it to be so.
For I have heard this said
of other paintings
and recalling how they are all
so unbelievably bad,
so poorly executed,
I have concluded that it is
the painters' utter ineptitude
that has made their very subject weep.
Such is the miraculous power of art.