Sea Gull on top of Angel with the Sudarium
by Bernini's student Cosimo Fancelli (1669)
Photo: Steve Gould, Ponte Sant'Angelo, Rome

Angel with the Sudarium

Enlightened masters Memling and Escher
on exhibits in Rome, and my friend Steve
is there immersed in medieval & modern art.

Crossing Tiber River on a pedestrian bridge,
he sees ten angel sculptures by Bernini
showing scenes from Stations of the Cross.

He sends me a photograph of a sea gull
on top of the Angel with the Sudarium
or sweat cloth— it's Veronica's Veil

cited by Dante in Paradiso 31.104
on pilgrims going to Croatia to see
this relic bearing the image of Christ.

Birds symbolize the soul— and this sea gull
has made a wise choice landing on the head
of the angel bearing the image of truth.

Bird whispers to the Angel— "Let's ascend
to Heaven together" and the Angel replies:
"All roads lead to Rome and this is my home.

Heaven is not up there above the clouds
but right down here on earth experienced
by those who live a pure blessèd life."

              Peter Y. Chou
              Mountain View, 1-25-2015