My postcard poem for day two

I based a poem on a detail from this painting by El Greco, titled ‘La Sagrada Familia.’ The postcard shows only Mary’s face.

Detail of La Sagrada Familia
after El Greco

What you see is my face
below a psychedelic nimbus,
hair held in place under a lace mantilla,
eyes downcast, skin like cream,
lips and robes stained
the color of ripe berries.

What you don’t see is the infant
held to my breast, his fingers
entwined with mine.
I wish I could show him to you,
but he’s been cropped from my story;
he’s soil, cosmic dust, words on a page.

I hope no one takes this poem as sacrilegious, although I suppose there’s no way around that it is. I’m thinking of how Mary would feel, having her son taken from her. If I were Mary, and very bitter, I might feel this way.

10 thoughts on “My postcard poem for day two

  1. Julie says:

    Fantastic, Christine. Absolutely beautiful. I don’t see it as sacrilegious. Mary was a human being, and you have portrayed that here so beautifully. She was a special human, but she was human nonetheless. I have thought about the same thing, too. As a mother, it would kill me.

    Your details in the poem are awesome…psychedelic nimbus, skin like cream, lips and robes the color of berries. The last stanza is so powerful and makes me want to cry for Mary.


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  3. christine says:

    Thanks for reading! And for the encouraging words. There’s something about a deadline that gets me writing, or a challenge, like this postcard poetry thing. I’ve found all these cards in boxes from when I traveled to Spain. I love El Greco, he’s one of my favorite painters.


  4. dale says:

    I reckon pretty much all of us, from evangelicals to catholics to agnostics, feel that Jesus has been misappropriated by others. Possibly the only thing we’d all agree on 🙂

    Great poem.


  5. carolee says:

    i like the fingers entwined. i’m guilty of thinking of the two — mary and jesus — separately. rarely together. this is a great reminder of that bond. great piece!!!


  6. suburbanlife says:

    “but he’s been cropped from my story;
    he’s soil, cosmic dust, words on a page.”

    This is so poignant a foreshadowing of this mother, Mary’s loss of her child before the end of her own life. A natural fear of every mother. Beautiful poem. G


  7. JC says:

    I don’t see this poem as sacrilegious at all–it is a persona poem in the best sense, where the speaker truly embodies the subject and brings a new dimension to our understanding of the subject.

    An awesome poem, Christine! Brava!


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