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Henry Chapman, “Spiral of Justice” (2018), graphite and inkjet ink on paper, 11 x 8.5 inches (courtesy of the artist)

The poem, ‘Spiral of Justice,’ or ‘Gerechtigkeitsspirale’ in its original German, was carved by Erhart Falckener onto a church pew in Hesse in 1510. The words are punctuated by red diamonds and surrounded by thistle and acanthus. I found an image of the pew while researching examples of shaped poetry. Reading the English translation is like reading the news: ‘Justice suffers in great need/Truth is slain dead […] Faleshood is of high birth.’

The poem:

Justice suffers in great need.
Truth is beaten to death.
Faith has lost the argument.
Falsehood is of high birth.
That angers God the Lord.
O man, let go
That you may not always be lost.
Praise justice.

(Adapted from English translations provided by Wikipedia)

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Henry Chapman

Henry Chapman is an artist from New York currently living in Los Angeles. You can find more about him at henrychapman.com.