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Bathsheba at Belvedere

Dreamed 1982 (mid-Dec?) by Katherine Metcalf Nelson


The managing editor of Utah Holiday and I
are crossing San Francisco Bay from Belvedere to Paradise
Cove. She wants to swim, but I tell her we had better go
by boat as the currents in Raccoon Straits are tricky.
We arrive at a beach house, dragging
a water-soaked air mattress.

All I remember of the house is a painting by Rembrandt,
his darkly glowing Bathsheba. Holding a letter from her lover,
her belly full with child, she looks down at her maidservant
and her own bare feet. As body, she is mature,
sensual, filled with life. As soul, she is at another depth
far away from the love she aroused
in David, a love for which she will pay dearly.

Rembrandt shows parts of Bathsheba that no one else knows--
her feelings inside about the cost of power and
enchantment at a moment of transition.
The choice is hard.

Bathsheba, David's lover; painting seen in dream, sketched by Katherine Metcalf Nelson.

Source: Katherine Metcalf Nelson's Night Fishing, 1997, p.48.

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