Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Masterworks Series: The Arrival in Bethlehem

The Arrival in Bethlehem

There was a wind that day
As we made our way along the imaginary landscape*
To the town of our temporary destination.

A man in a heavy coat
Sat on the bridge reading a book
While the tree branches declared
That the wind blows where it will.

There were sheep in the fields,
People gathering in the village.
It was a day marked
By ordinary tasks, 
And the ordinary dare not dream of destiny.

A river ran through the village
Because rivers always do.
It might have been the Jordan
Or the Hudson,
Or Mekong, Tiber, Tombigbee 
Perhaps the Chicago River, the Danube, or the Rio Grande.

It could have been the River of Life
Were it not for the ordinary state
Of the town that day.

The village was a place to stop for a while,
A place to begin.
Yet it had no imagination
For destiny.
No one took notice of our presence.

We stayed briefly
While destiny was born
Then crossed back over
The River of Life.

                                                                ~ CK

*Imaginary Landscape is the alternate title for the painting

Image: The Arrival in Bethlehem at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
This is an unsigned work attributed first to Patiner, then to Cornelis Massys, and later to Master LC (Netherlandish, active second quarter 16th century)
Date: ca. 1540
Medium: Oil on wood

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