Nativity Pendant, Ethiopia
it's not what a lot of people in the west are used to, but we all interpret these things on a local level, it's just that between the spread of pop culture and the ascendancy of western art for the last several hundred years, ethnic perspectives like these were not valued, were not featured except in museums and on christmas shows as a zoomed in and cut-away example that appears for an instant and just as quickly vanishes again with little or no mention made as to what the image was even of, or who made it, or where it'd come from...and yet looking on it now, being able to gaze as long as one wants, it's beautiful in that it does not presuppose itself to be holy...these are holy beings who aren't of the clouds above, but are of the same earth we belong to, and if only for this, their faces are lovely to behold with child and mother as we've seen countless times before, but different because in their eyes is a familiarity almost like family, and on the left christ runs the devil through with a spear that might as well be a string, the line of his love making him seem like a goodly brother putting down a wicked one...and then back to the mother where it's appropriate to say all things begin, but not where anything ends, for all eyes are on her as she looks right back at us and through to whoever is next and on and on and on for as long as it takes to hold her child close to her that he may never have to take that long walk up that hill...
This poem was written as part of the surprise ekphrastic Christmas challenge.
Garth Ferrante is a complete unknown who teaches, writes, and makes games out of challenging his own creativity. He writes because he loves to, because he finds meaning and purpose in it, because if he didn’t, life would be lifeless.
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