Bosh! Or Bosch!

NaPoWriMo Day 6 has given us a prompt based on a triptych by Hieronymus Bosch, a Netherlandish painter working in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. One possibility was to take some image from his triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. The thing is, looking at such detailed paintings digitally really does not do it for me. He influenced Peter Breughal the Elder. I have seen some of his paintings up close and personal. But doing a zoom in just did not give me enough detail to spark a poem. So I opted for ventriloquising the artist, who really should be credited as the father of the surrealists imho.

St. Jerome had his desert.
I was born in the forest.
The forest was in me,
its darkness, its danger, its  furtive delights,
its teeming life inside bark,
the fallen ones deprived of heft and height,
riddled with insects, the ravenous worms
eating solid timber to dust. Hark!
I can see the town’s burghers faces
in the trees' knots.
I have watched whole kingdoms burn,
seen humanity’s vanity come all
to naught.
It is all in here –
the venal, the feral, the beautifully strange.
The mountain ranges of my imagination
are sharp peaks carved by avalanches alien
to the flatlands of Brabant.
I do not paint monsters to amuse.
Like my patron saint I contemplate
my soul’s destruction
and its salvation
before it is too late.
St. Jerome had his desert.
His namesake is a forest.
Copyright © Bee Smith, 2020. All rights reserved.

The featured image picks up on the forest imagery used in the poem.

Photo by Yoshi Takekawa on Unsplash

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