La Orana Maria

“La Orana Maria”

Paul Gaugin Painting, 1891

Hail, Maori Maria, sturdy as a tree
Lifting the curled branch
Of your son upon sun-stained shoulders
He is still green and growing
Like a vine around your head
Linked together now
By heart-shaped halos for a crown

Poised above a filigreed sapling
An elegant angel guides
Two worshipers dressed in pareas
Baring breasts and folding hands
They hear a prayer Maria sings
As she walks slowly
To the altar filled with fruit
Given by the fathers of the land

Planted in a shadowed garden
Crowded with flowers
Springing up along a violet path
Like memories of a paradise
That cannot, will not last
They walk together now in peace

Mary’s son is the only naked one

His face stares down, and dares us
Come close and make him known
To be uncovered more
His mother’s face turns to us
Serenely cast in a ceramic smile that veils
The cutting words of warning she once heard
The coming sword to pierce her heart
Signs of the terrible beauty she had birthed

Ah, but when he leaps away―
To heal unholy men with love’s embrace
And lay a seal of clay on vacant eyes
Born blind, and when he spears
His fingers into dull ears, and tears
Apart the densities that cannot hear
Cannot bear the truth, and when he bellows
A command, desperate to staunch the stench
Of death, and calls a friend from the abyss
And when he towers above wind and waves
Hemmed in by hungry men, battered by seas

In a fragile fishing boat, and when he’s whipped
And lashed by angry men and fastened to a tree,
A symbol of the curse he bore

Then her Shalom will shatter into wailings
Her stature crumble and collapse
Upon his tattered bloody robe
Thrown down by astonied men upon the stones

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One thought on “La Orana Maria”

  1. Mary : Beautiful poetry 🙂 I do want to see the sequel to your book.
    The first book was your story of redemption. The second one will be a bit of a struggle as I assume that you are going to deal with relationships in the Body 🙂

    Be well and keep writing.

    Michael J. Read

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