Almanac Poetry: Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘The Conjurer’ (c. 1502)

 

‘The Conjurer’, Hieronymus Bosch, oil on panel, c. 1502. [Source: Wikimedia Commons.]

 

Hieronymus Bosch’s The Conjurer (c. 1502)

 

In Bosch’s The Conjurer,
a rich merchant stares stupidly
at a magician performing a simple trick
while the magician’s accomplice
picks the merchant’s pocket.

 

Fools abound in every era,
asking, crying out
to be taken for a ride.

 

 

 

(Acknowledgement: previously appeared in my most recent poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, Ginninderra Press, 2020.)

 

 

Read more from Kevin Densley HERE

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About

Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, has just been published (late 2020) by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Recent other writing includes screenplays for films with a tertiary education purpose. He laments the extinction of Cascade Pale Ale and Kiwi Lager.

Comments

  1. I saw some of Bosch’s work in a few places. Bloody scary stuff close up!

  2. Kevin Densley says

    I can imagine, Jim!

    The painting that inspired this poem is relatively calm, by comparison – at least on a superficial level. (Though a disturbing darkness does loom over the scene in another way.)

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Kevin, are you aware of the Clouds’ 1991 song “Hieronymus”? I’ve never really got what the song was about but after reading this and googling Bosch it makes much more sense.

  4. Kevin Densley says

    Hi Luke! No. I’m not aware of the song – but I’ll certainly check it out now that you’ve mentioned it.

    Glad that the poem has helped a little, too!

  5. Kevin Densley says

    Hi again Luke – I just checked out the ‘Hieronymus’ song and really liked it. I’m a fan of melodic indie rock based upon a good idea.

    That’s what I also like about a comment like yours – I post something, a person responds with an interesting comment, and I learn/discover something in return.

  6. DBalassone says

    Excellent words to accompany the painting – and a timeless theme!

  7. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks, DB.

    Timeless themes are usually the best ones to base a piece of writing (or art in a general sense) upon! They possess rich veins for a creative person to mine.

    In a connected way, I just thought of your Daicos poem, too … in the sense of mythic archetypes, he would fit the bill as a trickster!

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Glad you liked ‘Hieronymus’ Kevin. Clouds are a really interesting band though not prolific and had limited success. They still play the odd gig in Sydney.

    There’s always something to learn on this wonderful site!

  9. Kevin Densley says

    I’ll now to keep an eye and ear out for Clouds, Luke.

    And yes, one of the really good things about this site is its interesting diversity; as a consequence, one can often learn something and be entertained in some way at the same time.

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