Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On Pieter Brueghel's The Harvesters

Though they stoop and sweat
outside a stingy circle
that the pear tree affords ...
though the mustardy sheaves
of their morning's labor
lie stiff in their ranks as battle-
tallied dead . . . and though
the tree itself, coiling
ungracefully heavenward, past
a blue steeple, splits
their world with its axis,
here is Eden after all
which the artist makes
us contemplate
by planting in the foreground
that husky, unkempt reaper
with his legs splayed wide,
forcing our gaze crotchward,
to the solid drowse
of his codpiece so casually
unlaced, while another,
nearby, holding summer-
ripe fruit firmly to his lips,
stares out at us, and eats.

Brueghel's Harvesters by Richard Foerster

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