Dry Dust?

Bruegel Christ and woman

From dust and to dust, but what in between?
A dusty-dry worthiness or a brief moment of animation?

The dust between Galilee and Jerusalem speaks:

The dust of the road: a disciple’s on-the-move home;

The dust with which he opened the blind man’s eyes: a healing balm;

The dust where he stooped down to write; a word of utter mercy;

The dust washed clean from disciples’ feet: a loving attention;

The dust of another, final path: a cross-bearing, pain-stationed way;

The dust of a now-vacant tomb disturbed in the dark of night: a luminous emptiness;

The dust of the way to Emmaus: a path beyond what we took to be final.

Our foreheads bear the memory of triumph’s emberred residue,
but that cruciform smear
is now the soil
in which a grain of seed once died
and then gave grain, bread, body.


Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s Christ and the Woman taken in Adultery of 1565 is in the collection of the Courtauld Institute. Image from Wikipedia Commons

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