(after Bruegel’s, “The Misanthrope”)

Om dat de werelt is soe ongetru / Daer om gha ic in den ru
(“Because the world is perfidious, I am going into mourning“)

There is the gold of coins
hard-won and warm
in a leather purse lately strung
to a bitter man’s waist,
cut loose now
like a vestigial heart
or the plundered reliquary
of his youth.

There is the gold of morning
fields flecked with sheep
watched over by a man
who revels in the coarse music
of ruminant mouths
grazing the incensed clover,
the sky-flung, metallic hum
of flies rising
from each shivered coat.

Between oneself and the world
is simply the world
in all its shattered radiance.

The heart insists despite.