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“Christ in Gethsemane” written and translated by Gabriel González Núñez

For the original Spanish, click here.

Christ in Gethsemane

Ekphrastic poem after Carl Bloch’s painting by the same name

I have not enjoyed the privilege of walking through the halls of Frederiksborg Castle of strolling in front of its paintings of finding astonishment in its art but I did enjoy the privilege of trembling before the pictorial display that Carl Bloch named Kristus i Gestsemane have which I cannot pronounce but I did experience.

The work was transported from Old Europe to New America translated placed wholly in a transformed surrounding. In the museum it was given its own room the high altar. In the museum’s nave there it awaited for the arrival of art parishioners. There it awaited for my arrival.

And he came out and went as he was wont to the mount of Olives.

I arrived without knowing that there it sat silently expecting me. When I entered into its room into the nave time started dragging moving more and more slowly until it stopped altogether. Before the master’s masterpiece there lay rows of empty chairs. In that stopping of time there I sat to gaze in contemplation.

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast and kneeled down and prayed and being in an agony he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground and there appeared an angel unto him from heaven strengthening him.

The painting was of cosmic proportions. It was a sea of deep blackness a pair of abysmal jaws an engulfing darkness, and in the center of that hole light a bright and red robe a bright and white robe all of it illuminated as if by large high-intensity beams, a Man exhausted worn down stricken in his clothes of blood and wine, an Angel saddened winged dove-like kneeling on a primordial stone an uncrackable rock an Angel that caresses the Man’s crown tenderly, all in this moment of silence of unending blackness by an old, leafless tree.

When he rose up from prayer and was come to his disciples he found them sleeping for sorrow.

The room seems dark inert suspended. I feel the light of a secret sobbing of a crimson horror the colossal weight of an infinite blackness of a heaven broken into swaying shards of heavy shadows like the depths of the ocean. Behind me someone walks in and the second hand on the clock retakes its cycle. I stand up. I leave the museum.

Since then I carry the memory of that enormous blackness of a blackness that grows year after years and also the memory of the light which that abyss of millions upon millions of dead nebulae cannot find a way to extinguish.

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