Aug 7, 2012

Bruegel

Written by Paul Carroll

Read by Ty Kessinger

Near the end, even asleep, you held
a book of Bruegel’s paintings,
a finger inserted to mark a favorite print
of people caught in a breath,
the death to come, hidden.
Your suffering imagined theirs.
Didn’t the skating children begin to cough
and drop away like loose buttons?
And the green sky, didn’t it always
hang like a block of ice above
the endless plots of snow?
Who wouldn’t think of hunger,
the mill wheel frozen, the flour gone,
the empty woods.
Yet the old woke and gathered sticks.
Hunters returned and village magpies
thickened their feathers for the night.
Fire, blankets, bodies
must have been what they imagined,
how before sleep a woman took
her child’s foot, unwrapped the leather,
peeled off the warmth-preserving hay.
We looked again at Hunters in the Snow
the fire to the left brightening the inn,
its wind-blown sign hanging
by a single hinge.

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