Sunday, December 16, 2012
I recently saw an icon of the Visitation (the meeting between a pregnant Mary and her cousin, Elizabeth) which I absolutely loved; it inspired this poem, told from the point of view of Elizabeth.
I was months into the heaviness
swaybacked and swollen, and my husband
Mute as an old stone—
So that I heard it all the louder when Miriam’s shout
Reached me from the dust-choked road outside.
I raced out to see her standing there,
Glowing with sweat, her body just beginning
To take on a mother’s curves beneath her robes.
And then the child that nestled sweet
Beneath my heart
Leapt—not a simple turning, not a kick,
But jumped as if some new and secret joy
Had set him dancing: and it was then I knew—
Knew who it was she bore within herself.
Later some would call it solemn, grand; but truthfully,
We laughed as we embraced: breast to breast,
Cheek to smiling cheek,
And I know that both our sons
were laughing too,
in that way of old friends meeting
when all time seems as nothing,
and the space
between lives collapses