after Bruegel


Horsehair flickering a panorama
of rustic proverbs.  Bruegel
as the crow flies... oil
congeals a plangent winter summa.

Infant beginnings at the end.
Light-hearted kids under
a hulking storm.  Her
hunchback flimsy beggar-friend.

A village in the blank weather,
the dread season.  Human
high fellowship.  The reign
of love rings in the killing air.

Absolute zero.  Vanishing point.
& will the center hold
within this trench of cold?
The Flemish realm is out of joint.

Remember when the honcho came?
The strong man, offering
rewards or suffering,
no quibbling.  The gilded frame

worm-riddled.  & where ravens gather,
there your servant lies –
his casque of Paradise
just one hard crust, one leather

jug milked round a cackling blaze.
Dark curls of brune steeple
remind knife-shadowed people
how a dove broods in a thorny maze.


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