Botticelli, Primavera,Uffizi Gallery


I step into Botticelli's garden
at the Uffizi in Florence, catch
a breath from Zephyr, the West Wind,
as he descends on his nymph bride
Chloris, strawberry flowers flowing
from her mouth as she transforms
into Flora, the first green of Spring.
Seeing the myrtle and blue sky framing
the head of Venus like the thousand-petal
lotus of the Buddha, I kneel by her side
for her blessings as she conducts
a sacred dance for Beauty, Chastity,
Pleasure— the Three Graces who gave us
civility, hands entwined circling under
the orange trees, their draperies sheerer
than silk, their steps so light they
do not bend the grass as they dance.
Above Venus, Cupid shoots his flaming
arrow at Chastity, who turns her back
to the world, her gaze on Mercury,
his caduceus pointing to the clouds,
probing the upper waters. And after
kissing the feet of each of the Graces,
I tiptoe around the buttercups,
violets, marigolds, and poppies
to a field of flax at Mercury's side,
awed by his rod of winged dragons, I open
my mouth for the downpour of cooling rain.

Peter Y. Chou, Palo Alto, 11-22-92

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