— oils on canvas
 
 
By Elizabeth Swann
 
Dressed in red, her long hair down,
the white blouse slips
from her shoulder. A candle flame
consumes her thoughts,
a shadow
drapes the table. Legs bared,
her right hand rests
on a skull rocked back in her lap.

Another wants her
penitent – he casts her eyes
Heaven-ward, hands
clasped before her breasts.

Here, Mary stares
into a hand-held mirror, as if
to consider the life of vice
she’s supposed to have left behind.

And so we see her still,
the first apostle – always the accused,
portrait of a sacred whore,
nude by the cave or clad in scarlet –
Mary of Magdala framed
for another woman’s sin.
Mary, the confused
fantasy of celibate men.
 
 

3 Responses to “Portraits of Magdalene, The Masters’ View”


  1. […] Incantation and Verse. She was a finalist in the Guy Owen Prize, 2009. Read her poem “Portraits of Magdalene, The Masters’ View.” GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]


  2. […] Incantation and Verse. She was a finalist in the Guy Owen Prize, 2009. Read her poems “Portraits of Magdalene, The Masters’ View,” “At The Hospital,” “Rain,” “Casting,” and […]

  3. Clarence Eden Says:

    THanks for this startling and provoking panarama of a forever
    forgiven woman who is surely at His right hand. You are amazing. Love, Clarence


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