Poems of the Week


by Julia Griffin

“Author Simon Hewitt has unearthed a little-studied image held in Germany, a “comic strip” design made in 1495 to illustrate a poem, that showed how Leonardo was once ridiculed. In one of its colourful images, An Allegory of Justice, a ginger-haired … court lawyer is shown seated at a desk, mesmerised by other young men, and represents Leonardo da Vinci. ‘The identity of Leonardo as the red-headed scribe is totally new,’ Hewitt told the Observer…” —The Guardian

Does everybody know the star from Vinci,
The naughty genius with the Judas hair—
The one whose face is sort of puffed and pinchy?
I found him in a comic strip. So there.

I spied him scrawling rubbish on a table,
Too stunned with lust to regulate his pen;
Meanwhile his father stuck him with a label
About his taste for better-looking men.

Who says he doesn’t look exactly lustful?
Who says the label might be just a text
To copy, and that no one seems distrustful
Around a court-recorder over-sexed,

And steamy as the quattrocento sewers?
His ginger hair revealed it at first sight!
They all look ginger? Maybe, to mere viewers;
But not to learned clerks with books to write.