Crosses the years
of miles, men and mats,
Surfaces through the dry desert layers
and edgy shards of cynicism
that hides rusty buried treasure.
Ignites the glint and tinkling of her jewelry,
Warms and inhabits
her fine embroidered dress,
elegant headdress and heavy, luxurious cloak,
Revives her skin with oil,
Animates her scent.
She attends his feet.
Mourns and Loves
with heart and body,
the tenderness he needs.
She lifts her eyes,
Dares to glance for a still moment.
The responding gaze
restores her to herself,
now alive in every way.
Editor's note: This poem was written in response to Louis Glanzman's painting, The Penitent. We were unable to show the image with the poem, and chose this substitute image. The Bouguereau image is a detail of a larger painting, and the detail became known as The Penitent although the whole painting was called Young Fellah Girl. The detail gives the work a different meaning not likely intended by the artist but popularized by the audience. The word "fellah" refers to Middle Eastern/North African farmer or land workers, and could be translated as "peasant girl."
Sheila Murphy, BM, MA, lives in coastal Maine and works in music, ministry and mental health. Her creative work features cross-fertilization between nature, poetry, photography, prayer and retreat leadership and musical performance. Balance is maintained by fiddling in a weekly Irish Session at the local pub.
The Ekphrastic Review
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