New poem, “What Was She Born For”

Colleen McCallion, an artist in Laguna Beach, created the art installation you see below, which accompanied “What Was She Born For” in the magazine Artlife .

© Colleen McCallion

© Colleen McCallion

Colleen did the cover for The Illuminations and will do so for my next book as well.

What Was She Born For

Patient listening? Reading?

Da Vinci’s annunciation
is a discussion.
The young woman indoors
with the book
looks ready for discourse.


Botticelli’s virgin
has the face of his Venus
and she looks horrified,
her arms raised to push
the angel away.


Not in Fillippino Lippi’s painting
where her head curves downward.
Her hands cross over her heart,
touch her Florentine-red gown.
In the background Tuscan haze
with sun and cypress.

So many versions.

There’s Donatello’s sculpture
in Santa Croce. Mary looks
wonderfully amazed,
a tenderness in stone
holding a book.
The angel from a side view
is awed by her beauty.
He could be making a pass and
she, so young, doesn’t know it.

Sometimes it’s all about the angel.

Half icon, half woman
Fra Angelico’s Mary makes
the angel more terrible where
it hovers among scattering
gladness of butterflies,
daisies and linnets.

Rosetti’s nineteenth century virgin
white gowned and rumpled
sits up in bed, heavy and blank
with sleep. The young boy angel
stands god-straight, looks ambiguous.
She knows he is the subject.
Ecce Ancilla Domine

And how did the women artists,
those whose work is lost, make her?

© Mary Kay Rummel

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