Tuesday, March 31, 2009

After the Annunciation

I meant to post this on March 25, which is the feast of the Annunciation. I was inspired to write this after looking at many paintings of the Annunciation and after reading Thomas Merton's poem "Hagia Sophia."

Here's an excerpt from Merton's poem:

All the perfections of created things are also in God;

and therefore He is at once Father and Mother. As

Father He stands in solitary might surrounded by

darkness. As Mother His shining is diffused, embracing

all His creatures with merciful tenderness and light.

The Diffuse Shining of God is Hagia Sophia.

We call her His "glory." In Sophia His power is

experienced only as mercy and as love.

Here's my poem:

After the Annunciation

I have to believe that after
The Messenger
Descended from on high
On a glowing cloud

After the folding
Of his great feathered wings
His laying of lilies
At the virgin’s frightened feet

After the piercing light
Penetrated her chambers
And she shook at the sight
Of the angel’s sweeping bow

After the scroll of Aves
Was unfurled and proclaimed
And Mary answered back
Her strong and shaking
Be it done unto me…

I have to believe that after
Such a sudden ceremony
The sweetest silence filled the air
And then, and then

The soothing breeze of Holy Breath
Cooling her flushed face
The touch of Wisdom
Caressing her cheek

Gentle fingers in her hair
A conspiratorial giggle
A welcoming whisper
In her willing ear

I have to believe that Sophia said
Come, daughter, come, sister
Creation is calling
Let’s make Word from your flesh

For no greater love
Can one woman have
Than to bear in her body
The bright hope of her people

And no sweeter secret
Can be revealed
Than the quickening of life
Everlasting in your womb

And when the Source
Springs forth from your waters
You shall feel and see the
Opening of all things

I have to believe that after
Gabriel was gone
She was not left alone
But a Mother remained
And helped her to hold
All things in her heart

1 comment:

  1. Oh my God! You have definitely outdone yourself with this one!

    . . . "the soothing breeze of Holy breath . . . the touch of wisdom caressing her cheek . . ."

    How perfect!

    And then "Creation is calling. Let's make Word from your flesh."

    How she must have felt . . . the awe, the honor, the responsibility . . . !

    And finally "But a mother remained . . . " Yes, a mother remained and remains in all of us who watch them grow and leave and grieve that our deepest wish, our fervent hope, our life's work ends so well.