Mother’s Milk

A staid image of a placid
woman dressed in blue,
only hands and face exposed,
no crown bejewelled,
your child swaddled:
this was how I thought of you.

I didn’t know the church
imagined you as tripartite too:
royally dressed in ermine and silk,
breast exposed, a woman
of human flesh, blood and milk,
miraculously still a virgin.

It wasn’t you the angels preserved,
but the naked child, the one they served.

Kim M. Russell, 20th December 2020

File:Fouquet Madonna.jpg - Wikipedia

A seasonal poem for Poets and Storytellers United Writers’ Pantry #51 Year’s End

This is a poem I originally wrote for an ekphrastic prompt, inspired by the right panel of The Melun Diptych,  created around 1452 by the French court painter Jean Fouquet (c. 1420–1481). The two pieces of the diptych are now separated: the left panel can be found in the State Museum in Berlin, while the right panel is at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. 

I wish you as merry a Christmas as is possible under current circumstances and love, peace and good health for the New Year.

38 thoughts on “Mother’s Milk

  1. Yes, I think it’s important to remember that Jesus was born into human form and needed to experience all the normal things like mother’s milk – and that Mary, for all the miraculousness of what happened to her, was a woman like any other, who still needed to feed her baby.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It Seems This
    Middle Ages
    Portrait
    Of Mary
    Is Quite Prophetic
    Of Silicone Additions
    Centuries
    Later
    As Generally
    Speaking Gravity
    Has More Of
    An
    Impact
    On Feeding
    God Milk Such
    A Twist In The

    Story
    And Truly
    A Bit Twisted

    So JeSuS is
    God And Personally
    Arranges For His

    Mother

    To Be

    Pregnant

    With God The

    Obvious Short
    Cut i Will Still

    Provide to
    God LiVE iN
    All Then And
    Now Forever

    More As This
    Is Putting

    The

    Cart

    Before

    The Mother’s

    Milk Gravity

    Dividing

    Yet

    No

    Healthy

    Usual Dude

    Will Turn

    Away

    From

    Nature’s

    Most Basic Meal

    And Verily

    Core Muse

    For All
    Arts
    As
    Shakira
    Dances

    Sings True

    ‘Hips Don’t Lie’

    Either Any

    Way

    Every

    Painting

    And Image

    Says More

    Than

    Word

    Pictures Alone

    Other That Just

    A Redo of Egyptian

    Goddess Isis And

    Greek Goddess

    Of Fertility

    Youth Hebes

    Always With

    A Breast

    Exposed

    For Art of

    Muse Oldest

    Human Art

    Before Paint Copies Breath🍃

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My relationship to Mary’s story has always been one full of questions. Not about the veracity of the myth–that doesn’t really matter to–but about her role, the choices she never had, how she was treated… I love what your poem illustrates about the painting and the story itself. I enjoy that some of the emotions that it evokes are… difficult and real. And those last two lines are the best part of the whole (for me).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I found the Mary statue in the church I grew up with to be sweet and comforting, blue too. Those French can be kind of shocking! Love the write.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem and your thoughts thereon, Kim. Your talent always brightens my day. Blessings on you and yours t his holiday season!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Why is that painting so off-putting? I can imagine the model for that “Mary.” Hair fashionably shaved away from her face so no sinful tresses crept out from under her headdress. Full breasts pushed high up by the tight waistband. Even the small size and undersized chin that go with the tapered waist–I used to know someone who had that shape. It was considered an odd look in the twentieth century. Nice to remember that it was a fashionable look once, probably more admired because it’s unusual…Even so, the painting looks wrong, somehow. I suppose because the painter was trying to capture a moment that didn’t last long enough for him to draw it very well, and because the Baby looks big enough to be wearing clothes, if not going to school.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Medieval paintings are off-putting. Their whole world view is strange to us. But I suppose ours would be strange to them. And what would they make of modern art? The artist was a man after all, a medieval one at that, who wouldn’t understand about motherhood and being a woman – or babies and childhood. Did they even have childhood then?

      Like

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