Mary: a makeover. From my Icon: Iconoclast series

Icon I: Contemplation

But what of Mary?
She gave birth to Christ,
That greatest chimera;
Half God, half Man,
And something of lion
Thrown in, around the eyes.
The soft, infant mouth, full lips hiding
Sharp, carnivorous teeth.
She must have been something
Of a predator herself.

Let us look beneath
That milky pie-face
That bland innocence
We slather, peer beneath
That curve-hiding robe
Of ground up stone,
The lapis hem cannot disguise
The long curved toenails
Predatory, dark, which stand
Among the well-gnawed bones.

The leg is curved beneath
The painted canvas,
Hairy, well furred,
A pelt rough enough
To withstand the drought
And the heat of the desert,
Protection sufficient
For a heavenly cause.

Narrow hips follow leg,
She springs from her root;
Her womb thrusts forward
To seven inch clitoris,
The birth canal,
Like a male urethra,
An indentation in the fleshy tip;

A feature she shares
With her desert sisters,
Matriarchal hyenas who,
Like her, have had their status
Degraded by men who cannot stand
Or comprehend female power.
They misinterpret. Females, denied in villages
Where they are given male names
And led round by chains,
Bound round their necks.

She curled on her side
In that stable in Bethlehem,
That Mother of all mothers
Curved her body round the stone,
And the dust from the field,
Delivering the hard-sent earthly redeemer
Through that passage, that voyage
Through death. The journey she made
To drink from that fountain,
The water which pours
From the river of life.

The strong are always harder tested
At their birth
Than the lambs they feed
Upon, the herds they guard. Their entry
To the life of sunlight,
Of rich, good blood
Is perilous and comes
At the risk of the mother,
At the risk of all mothers
In the passage under earth.

The hyena in the Veldt
Brings forth her cubs at great pain;
Two of them usually,
One child at delivery is dead,
The threshold offering
The strong owes,
To purchase its strength.
Who was Christ’s twin?

Mary bent down there
In the dust, like her sisters,
And opened the passage for God.
With the sharp teeth
The icons closed lips never show,
She rent her womb
Through the head of her womanhood,
Birthing the Son, the chimeric Lion,
Bathing his life-wounds
In the stream of her blood.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope was named by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the five Expat poets to watch in 2016’. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described her latest collection as 'poetry as salvation'.....'This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.' Bethany has won many literary awards and published several collections of poetry. Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren in 2016. Her second novel, Ordinary Lives: The Ballad of John and Mary, was published in 2018. Follow her on Twitter @BethanyWPope

Posted on November 12, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: