“Sonnet of the Sculptor – a tribute in verse to the Life and Legacy of Prince Rogers Nelson” – by Tracy Jones


It once pleased the Lord to forge and create
a Sculptor, hands second only to His own;
an artist whose art was tied fast to his fate,
a maker, a fashioner, a worker in stone.
In coldness this babe of a strangeness astounding
grew seeking a teacher and arms to embrace.
All he found was indifference and judgment abounding,
and arms that tossed him, and he found not a place
in a land of edges and sharpness and steel.
So grew the Fashioner with music inside;
no bosom for his head, no hearth for his heel.
Flit he must as a child ’til as man, he could fly.

The Little Sculptor knew not what it was he had done
to be scorned by his father, to call no place his home.

The day came when awakened and burgeoned in him
the gift and the onus that he would now bear.
Slumber ever escaped with his quickening whim;
his art and his eye were now food, water, air.
With the rising of dawn and maturing of hands
came the gift for perceiving as eyes rarely see
and a heart that bled longing for love and romance.
He discovered what beauty for him was to be.
He was becoming what God had imagined for him,
angelically gifted with sense pure and true,
vibrating with melody that hushed earthly din;
deep inside and beyond was his vision and view.

The Sculptor was coming to know beyond knowing
what the Lord in him planted, and pruned, and was growing.

And he ripened in stature, and the curve of his face
was found pleasing; his eyes mesmerizing, erotic,
and his limbs strong in movement and flowing with grace,
and his lips poured a caramel voice hushed and hypnotic.
So fair he became that the fairest would flutter
and twitter and shiver at the tilt of his head.
His gaze reduced eloquence to a mere stutter,
and drove virgins to sin in their dreams of his bed.
As for the young Sculptor, the muses he’d use
to inspire majestic creations he’d make.
He’d fashion them, copy them, mimic their hues
in attempts to his hunger for love satiate.

For the Sculptor discovered where his power lay:
in his lovers, the women; in his lover, the clay.

The Sculptor began things of beauty to make,
fantastic creations of a new sort of form.
And soon it was clear that this vibrant young rake
would destroy all convention, defy every norm.
So he made and he molded, invented his face
and his way and his color and all things he showed.
His very persona he made a showplace
and he fashioned an aura that glistened and glowed.
Uniqueness, and cunning, and all that was fresh
were his hallmarks; no things that were done by the many.
And displayed in his art, in his movement and dress
was remarkable novelty, unmatched by any.

In sculpting the mountains and seas of his mind
he had exorcised demons and left them behind.

Determined, he sought next to build him a place
of tranquil peace, magic, where royal lights glowed.
Environs of dreamlike, ethereal grace
where music was lilting and the sweetest wine flowed.
And he’d fill it with lovers of beauty and art,
make a sanctum from strife and from all worldly woe,
and a haven for those that were broken of heart,
where dreamers and believers in rainbows could go.
And then finally, Home, had the Sculptor erected
his fortress, a fanciful deep violet glade.
And from roaming unwanted, uncared for, dejected
he found solace and rested in the palace he’d made.

The Sculptor created what he’d never received,
and at last he’d achieved all that he had believed.

Then in secret, the Sculptor began to return
some of what he’d been given to those who like he
had grown up told of limits on what they could learn
and restrictions on what they believed they could be.
He recalled how it was to be told you are less,
you are not quite as good, you will never succeed;
and ’twas these he had chosen to aid and to bless
where he saw there was lack and discerned there was need.
But a student of Truth, the Sculptor surely knew
that left hand need not see what right hand was about.
And no one was aware of all the things he would do
with no thought to adulation, or honor, or clout.

This maestro, this maker, this Sculptor of art.
was a giver in spirit and in pureness of heart.

Now, of an evening there came like a breath of perfume
such a muse as the Sculptor had never beheld,
with visage like Arcadian gardens in bloom
and the stride of a lioness stalking the veldt.
The Sculptor, inspired, drew her close to his side
and he polished her to a bright, luminous gleam.
Amid laughter and rancor like the course of the tide
they together did mold a most delicate dream.
Then like raging infernos engulfing dry plain
the two burned and consumed and laid waste and devoured
but as embers burn hotly til ashes remain
they were doomed like a vine to its wilting once flower’d.

Sculptor’s hands being molded by this passion he’d known,
with his youth wholly ransomed, he was Man now, full grown.

Then creations began with a vengeance and noise
like an ocean that rises and crashes the shore.
Marvelous the techniques that this Maestro employed;
and compelled, he created and made more and more.
He dismissed all instruction, in his own vision trusting
and the essence the Lord had placed square in his breast.
With the molding and making came loving and lusting
and a passion to be ever First, Most, Top, Best.
He could make and could fashion the dreams in his mind.
There was nothing beyond what his hands could now do.
He worked madly and left many bruised hearts behind
as he worked to create for himself what was true.

There were missteps for even this great virtuoso
but he lived like a symphony: allegro maestoso.

Surrounded by minions, and protege crafting,
his name and his fame and his infamy soared.
Each sculpture eclipsing the last of his drafting;
the throngs all amassing, yet he skirted the hoard.
As the himness of him grew beyond his own reaching
and all eyes and ears hungered for bits of his life,
he withdrew to himself, to his Lord and His teaching,
cursed his name and decided that now he’d make: Wife.
He’d tried this one, and that, searching eyes that he’d meet
for the soul to which he could tie future and fate.
Multitudes they fell fainting and weak at his feet
But he chose not to choose; and he chose that he’d wait.

For his making was giving, as art ever is,
but the Sculptor had nothing that solely was his.

He’d prayed silently, privately, earnestly to
the Lord God, that He’d soon hear the plea of His son
and send she, pure and innocent with blameless virtue
to be his, his alone; and he her only one.
And anon, here she came, and to all eyes she seemed
to be all that he’d prayed, that he’d called to God for:
she was youthful and pure and each thing that he’d deemed
to be all that he’d want, and he’d never want more.
So he took her, and molded, as he had with his clay
and she feigned she was pliant ‘neath his chisel and flair.
But she was flesh – so was he – and they found with dismay
that he could craft little more than the dress of her hair.

And with thunder the Lord chided her, scolded him
that the only True Sculptor was the He who’d made them.

So with fervor the Sculptor began with sore heart
to praise God and call children to Truth and to light.
And his busts and his sculptures stood far and apart
from adornment they’d once been of just fanciful flight.
He grew pensive and humble in honor of God
and sought only to call others to what he knew true:
that seeds sown in a prideful, unsuitable sod
yield the bitterest harvest of nettles and rue.
So he sculpted, and fashioned, and continued to mold
but his eyes had now opened, and more often than not
gazed not upon beauty that this world could behold
but were directed above, and were focused aloft.

The Sculptor was seeing beyond sight with his eyes
that The Sculptor was hinting at a valuable prize.

His figures renowned, with aplomb celebrated,
his patrons demanded their slice of his pie.
Sculptor battled and warred for the art he’d created
and refused to bow down and to live the Great Lie.
Brazen in spirit, with shocking temerity,
from the sculptures he’d made, his own name he erased;
for his brethren, the artists, and for all of posterity
he proved makers could eat without being debased.
And a victor emerged! See, the Sculptor had won!
His creations and sculptures were now all his own.
And Goliath had fallen ‘neath chisel and tongue,
Sculptor’s faith was his sling, and his wit was his stone.

The Sculptor had fashioned his own veneration,
and the sculpture, “Autonomy,” his finest creation.

Now, quietly the Sculptor did suffer us all
as we came and sat watching the art he would make.
And his beauty and artistry held us in thrall,
but Sculptor and Lord knew the course of his fate.
He worked madly, and quickly, as the truth on him dawned
that his works needs must finish, because at hand was the day
that he must answer The Sculptor for all he had done;
he must the last sculpture burnish, and then must away.
And the clouds, they were gathering; and the garden was dry;
and foundations that always honored his behest
were now weakening, and upon them he could no more rely,
but no matter; for soon, in the Lord, he’d find rest.

And his smiles became knowing, and so peaceful and hushed,
and though his gift was unfailing, his cheek lost its blush.

And then came the day when all darkness was light,
when hurting was over and all wrongs were made right,
when Angels did gather their son into flight,
and the Purple lights shimmered and lit up the night.
The day that a million hearts broke with their plight
and a billion tears fell like a salt-sodden blight
and the poet was driven and impelled to write
and the painter to colors more vivid and bright
and the warbler to sing far more sad and contrite
and the dancer to writhe like a crestfallen sprite.
All the while, the Sculptor, from his newly found height
was seated with The Sculptor in His infinite might.

From on high, he smiles wryly, as like rain from below
cries the one global voice: “Adieu, notre Maestro.”


© 2017 Tracy Jones


4 comments on ““Sonnet of the Sculptor – a tribute in verse to the Life and Legacy of Prince Rogers Nelson” – by Tracy Jones”

  1. Tracy this is so beautiful! It truly should be displayed permanently at Paisley Park. It is the first completely true depiction on Prince’s life I have seen. Thank you so much.,💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! I cried as I read this beautifully written sonnet. Tracy Jones, you have an amazing gift. Thank you for sharing your heart, your love and your respect for the ‘maestro.’


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