Adoration of the Magi from the Life of the Virgin: Dürer
A noisy scene:
Angel trio in the heavens
warbling and strumming,
two magi volubly disputing,
Joseph itching to join in,
and in the upper left
the star a firework
bursting into bloom.
But look below:
mother and child
lapped in silence.
Adoration of the Magi:Cristofano di Michele Martini Robetta
The sky is racked with scouring winds.
No one rejoices,
not the trumpeting angels
not the crowding courtiers
not Joseph, old and defeated
fixing his wife with a querulous look
which Mary will not answer
while the baby exchanges baleful glances with a bull.
Only two foreground figures seem happy.
Foreigners for sure,
aware only of the child
and not of the natives,
not of the natives, and what they will do.
Adoration of the Child with a Portrait of the Donor: Lombard School
The cattle nose in, mildly interested.
Joseph leans on his staff,
in arthritic pain, perhaps, or grief.
Mary, in pink, is restored as a virgin,
waist girt tight, pale hands full of grace.
We don’t know where the donor is looking
but it is not at the baby lying naked on the ground,
Mary’s dark cloak spread beneath him,
his halo barely glistening, streaked with thorns.
Diane Vreuls has published a book of poems, a novel, a collection of short stories, and a children’s picture book. She lives in Oberlin, Ohio.
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