Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Adoration of the Kings (Jan Gossaert, "Mabuse")


A convention of Renaissance nativity scenes:
The ruined stone architecture, as though Christ
Could not be born in a hovel, nor in a palace
Of new magnificence, befitting the King of Kings.
The crumbling pretensions, the unearned rights
And privileges of men, of good will or malice,
Who take or inherit power, surround the Child.
Then who are these kings to show adoration,
Who offer gold while angels gather overhead?
What is being redeemed, what evil exiled?
Will each king, restored, return to his nation,
Resurrect the rights of the living? Of the dead?
A dog tears at a scrap in the foreground,
A perfect imitation of a hungry hound.

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