Intricacy of Calm
As my mother lay dying, body wracked in pain, day in, day out,
her bed rested six feet shy of tranquility’s settling vision--
a delicate depiction of beauty’s peace at rest.
The Lacemaker graced my mother’s nearby wall, portraying
full elegance of repose— attentive rest while at intricate work.
Jan Vermeer’s painting begged any observer, even my mother,
to close her eyes, watch her breath, slowly open them once more,
then take a broad glance at calm:
the skill of twisting air to thread, of braiding silk from strands of wonder,
or even spinning lace with unseen turns of thoughtful fingers.
Where did my mother’s eyes rest
when they looked towards that beige-boring wall?
Directly on the painting by Vermeer?
Perhaps they, as mine now do, focused
on the peace of the lacemaker’s hands, the serenity in her face.
I think of the memories my mother’s gaze may have evoked in her—
maybe the time she learned from her own mother of tempered mastery,
the slow, elaborate patience required to sew. Could she ever
imagine a time when I, her daughter, would recall that steady tenacity
at stitching, the requisite resolve, I once learned from her?
Now, as my eyes peer anew at this very same Lacemaker, which today graces
my wall, I breathe a spirit of quiet, of acceptance, its full thoughtful, repose.
Judith Brice is a retired Pittsburgh psychiatrist whose love of nature and experiences with illness inform much of her work. She has had over 80 poems published in journals and anthologies, including in The Golden Streetcar, Voxpopulisphere.com, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Magnolia Review, and Annals of Internal Medicine, among others. Judy has twice received the Editor’s Choice Award in The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize, sponsored by The Paterson Literary Review. Judy delights in four poetry books: Renditions in a Palette, Overhead From Longing, and Imbibe The Air all published by WordTech Communications and Shards of Shadows: A Covid Diary published by Impspired Publishing, the last two publications in January, 2021.
The Ekphrastic Review
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