By Patrick T. Reardon


Each itch outside the sanctuary

of Saint Mary of the Flower

is rooted in the Florence street stones,

each tiny twitch of unrest before travel.


City of art-makers, art-savers,

mighty deeds on show.


Blast the trombone.

Growl the snare drum.

Shake the firmament.

Dance the crosshatch of languages,

the interwoven ages.


Stroll the plaza past the boxy Baptistry

and the replica Ghiberti doors,

beneath the inscrutable red-brick dome,

within the rhythm of the marble facade

— white and green with pink grace notes.


No one worthy of such mightiness,

and everyone.


Each maker, each stroller.

Each afflicted with itches and twitches.

Each anxious around a still point,



He carved the awkward Pieta reaching

— all is reaching, a stretch across the abyss.

Making is a reach. Seeing reaches.


Nothing perfect.

You, me, him, his Pieta, marred.

Marred is worthy. Marred is reaching.


I reach into what he made,

unfinished as it is,

as he was even at the end,

as I am and will always be,

astretch and incomplete.


Patrick T. Reardon


This poem originally appeared at Ekstasis on 4.26.24.

Written by : Patrick T. Reardon

For more than three decades Patrick T. Reardon was an urban affairs writer, a feature writer, a columnist, and an editor for the Chicago Tribune. In 2000 he was one of a team of 50 staff members who won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. Now a freelance writer and poet, he has contributed chapters to several books and is the author of Faith Stripped to Its Essence. His website is


  1. Donna mazzucchi June 18, 2024 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    So beautiful and moving. I will try to always reach

  2. Patrick T. Reardon June 19, 2024 at 4:58 pm - Reply


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