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——-—Fahai Frescoes, 1439–43
——-—Benozzo Gozzoli, Cappella dei Magi, 1459

How can I not think of Benozzo Gozzoli?
There are elephants, lions, birds, a wolf, a leopard,
lavish costumes, jewels; faith was pageantry

both in Medici Florence and the Ming dynasty,
twenty years and half a planet apart.
Coincidence? Destiny? Benozzo Gozzoli

had Giotto, Fra Angelico, a legacy
one would have thought essential to such art.
But scrolls and painted caves have their own pageantry

and one might get fine gifts (forgive me, magi)
from lords and ladies of the imperial court,
their robes dripping real pearls. Benozzo Gozzoli

adorned his splendid cavalcade of magi
with gold and gold brocade, the horses girt
in gilded chains and bridles, pageantry

(along with grace, precision) an unfailing ally
(not to mention excess) of the spirit.
It runs over, transfigures into ecstasy.
O Ming Masters. O Benozzo Gozzoli.



Jacqueline Osherow’s most recent collection is My Lookalike at the Krishna Temple (LSU); Divine Ratios is forthcoming in 2023. She has received Guggenheim, NEA, and Ingram Merrill Fellowships, as well as the Witter Bynner Prize. She is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Utah and will teach at Image’s Glen Workshop in summer 2023.




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