Day 8

20 Dec

thought comes today from Frankie Martin

This Is What It Was Like

Gerolo Bassano, set pious Mary right,
As faithfully she lowered her eyes
From heaven’s cohort bright.
Gabriel prostrate, as to her he delivers,
The wondrous visitation
As she sits in her blue villa.

This, surely, is what it was like.

Lorenzo di Credi shows us the mother and her child:
Mary with sober eyes downcast,
Her mouth composed and mild.
Her unclothed baby sits, with delicate repose.
Whilst behind him, framed in the window,
A Tuscan hillscape flows.

This, surely, is what it was like.

In attentive adoration, the shepherds come to see.
With sculpted arms they offer lambs
From low on bended knee.
Then gleaming magnificence, with famous jewels and minerals rare,
The magi come with courtly poise
And a retinue of prayers.

This, surely, is what it was like.

Mary, Joseph, Jesus; St George and young St John.
The two babes tussle gently
As the shining knight looks on.
Now Jesus, twelve years old, holds court amongst the temple.
Mary clasps her hands in anguish,
Her garments sketched in pastels.

This, surely, is what it was like.

No time for Tintoretto’s dramatic exposition
Of Jesus’ flight to heaven.
Hauled up by small cherubim.
The big names make their cameos, Catherine and St Jerome.
But the steward is waddling over:
‘It’s time to close, you know’.

As I leave I glance around, away from all the art,
Notice the pregnant girl across the room;
Her youth upsets my heart.
The evening’s chill is all that greets me, as I step in to the mess,
The mess that is kids squabbling
Whilst their mother just look stressed.

An elderly couple bickering, sitting in their car:
‘It’s this way’, ‘not, it’s that way’.
‘I’m sure that’s where they are’.
They’re visiting their grandchildren, suggests their gift-full boot.
I know from first hand experience
The kids will gobble up the loot.

So I hurry on, and as best I can, I block out all this noise
And think instead of those fine kings:
How elegant their poise.
The richness of Lorenzo’s colours, old Bassano’s eye,
Mary with an obedient look
As gold trumpets fill the sky.

Bergundy brown and purple, deep red and glowing cream.
Jesus’ reflection is in George’s armour seen.
And Mary looks as wise as ever,
The ox attentive at his tether.
All eyes, all adoration, fixed on haloed Jesus Christ.

Because this, surely, is exactly what it was like?

The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
December 2010


2 Responses to “Day 8”

  1. thehutch December 20, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    really enjoying this series – such good reflections

    • weirdhippy December 21, 2010 at 9:31 am #

      cheers mate glad you’re enjoying it. I’ll have to get you participating next year. Hope you’ve got a bit of time off over Christmas to recover.

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