Journey within Bruegel’s Sheep

Two perspectives on a classic painting from a workshop on Ekphrastic writing led by Elizabeth Bradfield at the Kachemak Bay Writer’s Conference 2008. If you’re into ekphrastic works, check out Leap by Terry Tempest Williams which explores Bosch’s 15th century psychedelic wonder, The Garden of Delights.

I

bleached sky and earth
spring and its greenness
its softening of soil
ripening of buds

days beside this sea
without rain brings
blindness, busyness
fields to plow
sails to mend
hungry ewes awaiting
their lambs

the boy too
frantic with distorted vision
long days with glare from the sea
fracturing sense

even as the wax ran
like honey over
the stiff cypress frame
and the ends of so
many feathers

through squinted eyes
he saw only sky
the limitlessness of it

at the water’s edge
one animal
tearing salted lichen
from rocks
suddenly
staggering away
from the sea
in fear

the pale legs
all to be seen
like a lamb birthed
breach from the sea

II

another day
grazing these hills
and this lamb will be hungry
hungry means dry
drying inside, gone the slick
mucous of the healthy intestines
through which i move
gathering blood cells
and unprocessed nutrients from
passing by waste

despite this heat
the shepherd’s dog looks well fed
one more day then
a journey

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