October 17th, 2004

[fades] browns and reds

Ceramic love

There is a shelf
where one-winged seraphs rest,
where saints and resin-cast martyrs find
solitude when, through rough wear,
they have lost their heads, giving them
identity beyond their mold,
outside their icons.
Where the virgin mothers go when they
have lost their hands, where magi
hide their shame, arriving to greet
the babe without their myrrh, their gold,
sometimes their camel or perhaps
missing their fine hats.

Here, three cherubs weep together, wingless.
Beside them, their broken pinions--
glass, clay, polyurethane,
denuded angels who flew
too near the floor. One would play
a harp, but for her hand.
Here, two black boots, kept in pair,
hollow inside. Do not mourn the Santa
who once wore them. He has moved on,
sleigh-tired, somewhere, he is at peace.

Then there are the animals. One donkey,
pewter, unbreakable beast. But separate
from Christ, distanced from the miracle
of the Savior, he sits at the feet of
a maimed, monstrous Gaspar, too small, too fine
to be ridden by this ceramic giant.
Francis's doves, torn from his hand.
Sometimes they maintain their grip,
and the generous saint gives them solace,
perhaps forgiveness, even as they clutch
his wounded hand with dove-claws. Or
a lioness, thrown from Noah's Ark
by a brush with a customer's coat,
depriving the world of lions.

Shining among them, an angel,
order of thrones, adorned in
burnished gold. Her dress swirls
around her, as if she leaped to
her pedastal in praise. Grace
makes her shine, divine love
and gold leaf. She raises her arms
to her maker, but stops, broken,
her smooth gold skin marred by
white resin. Who can reach higher,
without a hand? "You made me,"
she says. "Cast me, shaper. And
cast me, lord, to the earth.
Remake me," she would say,
if not for her eternal, perfect smile.
"For a child believed you,
A child thought I was as beautiful
as you made me to be."


I've been wanting to write that one for a long time. I had one of my favorite hymns--sweet adoration--running through my head. I can't find the lyrics somewhere where I can easily link to them, so I'll just Collapse )
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