Poem | Adorations

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.

Magi? Donors?

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.

Published in the April 11, 2014 issue: 

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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