(Hieronymous Bosch, 1516)
When the wings of the triptych are open as
be the case he’s split in two. As in
another sense he was at his inception since
having liked his own creation or
engaged by a client determined to claim
the credit for
another of the same produced this
duplicate some fifteen years after the first.
He’s older here,
the man with the woven pack on his
back, he’s still warding off the malevolent dog.
progress left to right as one might read
the middle distance with its cautionary
of pleasure and vice. Note the gallows
with its ladder, note (much closer) the
of a horse. The part I can’t quite
solve for is the little bridge. A piece
courtesy, so notably missing in most
of the view. There’s even a handrail albeit one
that a traveler would be ill-advised to
use it. Still. The thought that counts.
The bridge itself
not timber as the makeshift
construction would in the usual course of
but quarried stone which wants
a story to explain it. Repurposed perhaps
from a grave-
yard or a fallen church?
Waste not want not, common
in the countryside.
And sweeter too for messing up
the parable: journey of the soul etcetera
dangers survived. And sometimes
just for fellowship the human gift
of making do.
That the panel itself was once
a living tree is what the living rely on
to give us a date.
Vicissitudes of sun and rain
encoded in growth rings for all to see.
Your time here,
traveler, scarcely leaves a mark.