Toledo! Precious light of Hispania's cities!
Where many a destiny denied mention thy frailties!
Thou hast seen many a Gothic King,
Of the Vandal, Moor and Christian thy murals still sing!
Thou art the jewel of Hispania Ulterior,
And Madrid 'twas built only to protect thy grandure,
Islam didst repent that fatal day,
When Christians took thy walls and came to stay!
E'en unto these days of late,
Toledo canst be enter’d by the eastern gate,
And crossing the river, in the early morn',
O'er bridges protected by swords now undrawn.
And enter thee through Moorish arches,
Rise up those steps like a conquistador who charges,
Led on by an impatient need to sack,
And fill thy desolate soul's immodest lack!
The first encounter high above the steps,
Be the Alcázar's military enclave, yet,
A sight of power projecteth thee,
That struts to uphold petty tyranny!
'Twas here that General Franco made his claim,
To absolute power, war was his game,
The Alcázar's "relief" from Republican rule,
Term'd howe'er "liberation" from communist barracks' gruel!
Of Cathedrals Hispania dost boast a few,
And fine white wall'd Synagogues, left by the Jew,
When Catholic Kings forc'd him from his land,
Religious tolerance being too much to stand!
Toledo 'tis a citadel doubly defended,
The river runs 'round it and pretended,
To preserve its pristine magnificence,
From descent into the outer world's decadence.
Here seemeth a world in time presev'd,
Cut off from many a century undeserv'd,
To be but a ghost town a relic of past glory,
Where soothsayers tell of old, but ne'er new stories!
Hereabouts didst live Domenikos Theotokopoulos,
"The Greek" he was call'd by those at a true loss,
As to pronunciation of a name so long,
By their admitted ignorance of the Grecian tongue.
Domenikos was a son of the Island of Crete,
Yet to Italia's Renaissance he made swift retreat,
And at Venice by Titian's acute guidance,
Found he was gifted for artistic license.
Despite the church's ubiquitous influence on,
Themes fit for painters, in those days far from gone,
Domenikos found his own unique vision,
Breathing new life into old subject matter with precision.
'Twas with the Spanish clergy, he found his way,
Or rather lost it -depending who hath his say,
Found himself then from that day residing,
Within Toledo's walls, in seclusion not hiding.
He had a certain way of capturing a subject's soul,
Or essence in oils that embody'd the whole,
Which brought about a far reaching harmonic sense,
A stylistic innovation, emotionally intense!
"El Intierro del conde Orgaz" he paints,
Many a Spanish nobleman together with Saints,
That money couldst not prove eternity too long,
Yet by a brushstroke amendeth thy enmity wrong!
And unto such images of Christ he gave birth,
Yet set strangely amongst Spanish knights of worth,
Pious servants seemeth they of our Lord!
Far from mere brutes! With an excuse for the sword!
'Tis through here that many a pauper hath pass'd,
Looking to make a fortune or some bread crumbs last,
Not to mention one Lazarillo de Tormes, he of late,
Who didst get himself into many a fine scrape!
Led he a life describ'd only as picturesque,
By no fault of his own became quite a villain, nay,
Playing his tricks on both the 'haves' and 'have nots',
Doing aught to fill his belly by roguish plots!
E'en the proud be reduc'd to desperate measures,
Prey upon others who doth not appreciate pleasures!
'Tis easy to walk on by, say "the system's to blame",
What will it cost? To release humanity from foul shame?
Yet to others dignity still be a thing too strong,
Wouldst they rather starve to death, lingering long,
A drawn out end perhaps 'tis prefer'd by some,
To asking for alms, begging, take pity on our young!
Howe'er poverty remaineth so whilst isolated on corners,
On thy knees thou doth find few amongst thy mourners,
Until that day, strength stands in its own way,
Find release from dependance! Vile creatures of clay!
Traverse thee by any of today's remote back alleys,
There shalt thou find many a Lazarillo's ally,
Organiz'd crime leadeth tourist trades array,
E'en the desolate crave dignity! Who's to pay?