Saturday, April 16, 2011

black madonna

my reflection in the Black Madonna

Our eyes meet dark
across the kitchen sink,
pooling maternal kinship,
without a lot of fussing
and praying, we regard
a settled melancholy.

Thoughts crisscross
quiet over the dishwater,
with a soothing ritual scrape
of accumulated leftovers,

keeping the best scraps
a sacred Eucharist,
cooled and wrapped
in smooth silence,
to be digested
tomorrow.



Tess Kincaid
April, 2011



Black Madonna image from Wiki
WT gave me a beautiful framed vintage print of the Black Madonna of CzÄ™stochowa for Christmas. The galley-style kitchen at the manor has a sink that faces out toward a bit of wall.  She hangs, facing the sink, keeping me company as I tidy up the dishes.

There are many theories as to why she is called the Black Madonna, including the dark skin is that of the pre-Christian earth goddesses, the theory that she expresses a feminine power not fully conveyed by a pale-skinned Mary, or that the dark skin is more appropriate in describing the original skin color of the Virgin Mary.

There are those who believe she has some esoteric significance, including being revered by the Templars. I'm quite fascinated by her beautiful dark mystery.

69 comments:

  1. Gorgeous. I love this stanza:

    Our eyes meet dark
    across the kitchen sink,
    pooling maternal kinship,
    without a lot of fussing
    and praying, we regard
    a settled melancholy.

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  2. Wonderful! And I love that new banner photo--perfect the way he hand is cupping "Willow Manor" there. Also love your new photo of yourself and of course, Seamus Heaney there. It's all good.

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  3. I love that first photo. Compelling.

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  4. whoops--"her" hand... her hand is cupping "Willow Manor" there.

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  5. Writing doesn't get much better than this!

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  6. Very nicely written; assonance and pleasure. Thanks for -

    Peter

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  7. Ahhh... everything is best regarded without a lot of fussing and praying. Great line.

    Love the new snapshot.

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  8. she is truly beautiful as are your words :)

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  9. recently I've been thinking of ocean's, whales, seas and how things would seem if from the point of view that above sea level is just another ocean but instead of liquid connecting everything it's air. Makes me think the lighter of anything is scene when I look up and the darker of the same when I look down.

    I like the questions you leave here for the reader to think about.

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  10. love this poem and I love that picture of you on your side bar! I didn't know you when you were younger but I'll bet you have become even prettier.

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  11. Sue and Kim, thank you! I was having a rare good hair day yesterday and decided I should take a few shots in commemoration!

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  12. Magnificent reflections...all. That photo is genius.

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  13. So beautiful. I feel inspired.

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  14. That new profile picture is absolutely sensational! Broadway and Hollywood are fighting over you.

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  15. The poem is great, and again I learned something new. Love your reflection in the painting.

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  16. Hi! Willow...
    Thank-you, for sharing all the information about the Black Madonna...
    The Print just like your reading is gentle and beautiful too!
    DeeDee ;-D

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  17. That Icon of the Black Madonna is beautiful. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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  18. "Settled melancholy"--perfect for poem and Madonna. She is fascinating. Thank you for sharing.

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  19. My area of France is inextricably linked with The Knights Templar.

    There's something magnetic about old icons. I've had a few in the past, but they were all sold.

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  20. Lovely! Here's a link to what I know about the Black Madonna! Fascinating reading too! Cheers!

    http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/merovingians/merovingian_dynasty/merovingian_dynasty01.htm

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  21. She is a true beauty. How could you fail to have a close relationship with her?

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  22. I had a completely different take on the poem before I read about your copy of the Black Madonna. I love when a poem lets you do what you need to do with it. Beautiful work.

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  23. This lovely poem seems to whisper a sacramental element into a daily ritual. Beautiful. Just the righ thing to start Holy Week ;)

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  24. Willow
    Certain activities, such as playing in the dish water, are conducive to reflection. And in those times we are most apt to turn the mundane into beautiful poetry. Add to this the motherhood connection and you have a perfect formula for magic.

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  25. She does have such a look of melancholy. I like the reference of the Eucharist, as the bread of life and the family meals prepared to sustain life.
    I always find reflections interesting because they are the reverse of how we usually see someone, but it is the only way the can see themselves.

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  26. Beautiful words
    Beautiful picture
    Beautiful reflections

    And all this whilst washing the dishes!

    Have a wonderful weekend Tess.

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  27. There is a dazzling divinity in darkness, in the dark reflection, in the nourishing undersides of a life ... Seeing your reflection in the Black Madonna in the after-dinner dishes shows the heavy lifting of motherhood, the long toll of it, too the way such manure gives every bit of strength to the next day. Wonderful. - Brendan

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  28. I adore poems and other references to "mundane" tasks such as washing the dishes, a task close to my heart as I seldom if ever use the dishwasher (being most often just one person eating). The black Madonna is beautiful.

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  29. Great poem and picture. Although I have heard about the Black Madonna I didn't really know anything about her.

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  30. I love that you keep company with the Black Madonna whilst doing dishes!! :)

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  31. Wonderful interplay and artistry with your posts. Always enlightening.

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  32. Bear, thanks so much for the link! I'm off to read more...

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  33. we don't see the jagged edges of the moon.
    her luscious soft light bouncing in the night

    she rules with a light touch unlike her lover
    hot sun

    night and day melt into each other
    until we dream that they are one divine undivided whole

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  34. M.A.S., I'm glad you had a different take before reading about my inspiration. I like a poem to be able to stand well on it's own.

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  35. Dubby, this is exquisite. Did you write it? It pairs with my thoughts so very nicely.

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  36. The reflection of mystery and dark depths is so appealing here, Tess. A cycle of eternity, connections that come daily, momentarily, with vibrance and warmth. Lovely.

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  37. Your poem calls to mind the Zen story about a student coming right after lunch to the Master for instruction about attaining Enlightenment.

    "You want to attain Enlightenment?"

    "Yes."

    "Then go wash your bowl."

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  38. Dan, the Zen master was a wise man.

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  39. The kitchen as sacred place. The ritual of preparation of food the cleaning up. Life sustaining activities, I like that you have reminders of the sacred in your kitchen. Very special! I shall try to find something to remind me what I do there is sacred, too. And that is another reason you are who you are.

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  40. everything about this post blows me away....beautiful.

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  41. Very lovely! The Madonna image is always compelling and the darker ones even more so. And I've always loved the idea of everyday tasks -- rightly approached -- as sacraments.

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  42. The photo image is captivating and the poem itself, a wonderful read. Liked the explanation of the original, too, Tess.

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  43. Beautiful poem Tess. Quite beautiful - sculpture with words.

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  44. I love that I can come here and not only be inspired by your poetry but also learn something fascinating -- thank you, Tess!

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  45. I always love your words, Tess, but that image of you being enveloped by the Black Madonna is so compelling...I'm drawn into it.

    Lovely.

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  46. Terrific poetic moments that take us
    to both exotic and maternal destinations,
    while letting your magic soar as well.
    The black madonna is a pre-300 B.C.
    icon, connected to the Gnostics among
    others. Loved that A&E program a
    few years ago showing us that Jesus
    was a very dark Jewish man with
    nappy curly hair. But as to the icon,
    is this child in it not Jesus; the black
    messiah?

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  47. Tess -- Like your header -- it has hints of Mary Poppinesque overtones -- very energetic. Also, like your new black and white photo.-- barbara

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  48. Which was done first...... the poem or the dishes? My mother would have scolded me for such dalliance during my chores!

    If a person was given a picture of such an ancient, sacred icon and asked to write a poem, who would have "thought of" or even "been able" to include their dishwasher in such a poem and have it work so well? Only you, brilliant lady, only you!

    Was there anything scraped off those plates that may have contributed to such mindful connections?
    Some exotic or dark, sultry food you had just digested?

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  49. Oh yes. I always love a beautiful, dark mystery. Thank you for giving me another to explore.

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  50. Stunning. I love any ethnic depiction of Mary and also I saw a painting of a pregnant Virgin Mary in the Basilica of St. Lawrence. That is very rare. This is commonly known, but St. Luke supposedly was painting the picture of the "Black Madonna" and she told him about the life of Jesus. Pope John Paul prayed before the original in Poland. Millions pilgrimage to see the original - miracles supposedly happen. . Looking into her eyes and pondering her life - her wisdom. It intrigues me that you are fascinated by her as you aren't Catholic. (I thought you said you weren't) I am and I run into much hostility regarding the "misunderstandings" of her. Your poetry, as usual, is so evocative. Something I am a long way off from achieving, but someday hope to attain. ;) Have a wonderful Easter!

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  51. This is really lovely Tess. You have touched on something deep here, between mothers, that is beyond the scope of the infallable popes and bishops.

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  52. She seems like good company. What a beautiful gift from WT.

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  53. Crankin' poem. Gorgeous picture. I like the one with you in it better than the original. Kinda ghostly, very cool.

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  54. Love the fun new header.
    Very springlike and energising.

    Loved how you incorporated the everyday into your new poem
    which is really -- to me -- what poetry is about: rising above the literal and mundane to find something magic and special.
    Well done.

    I liked the Rockwell below.
    In some ways Rockwell is Hopper on Prozac!!!

    American 20th century genre painting at its best.
    Of course I'm madly in love with Hopper lately.

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  55. This all just evokes such peace for me..
    I like the image of you doing the dishes with her..

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  56. The thought was new and knew to me, but if I wasn't the first one to write it down it would not be shocking news to me.

    I've found many of my "ideas" are not originated by me, but rather old familiar ideas revisited, just not always recognized by my mind the same it seems the locations have no memory of me.

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  57. Lovely poem encompassing the beautiful Black Madonna.

    This reminds of the image of Our Lady of Vladamir - Mother of Tenderness, the Lady Who Saves Russia.

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  58. A passionate subject for research.

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  59. What is known, usually remains quiet. Nice. -J

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  60. The Black Madonna is beautiful.. and i love the idea of her watching over your kitchen chores. Lovely poem!

    I love all the treasures to be found here.. the swedish vase, and even the solved identity of the alien-egg-shaped bust!

    I also was not sure about buckeyes, it was great to learn about them, too,thank you!

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  61. "with a soothing ritual scrape
    of accumulated leftovers
    to be digested tomorrow"

    I'll be digesting this poem for weeks. Thank you!

    Gorgeous painting, and reflection btw.

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  62. I guess it isn't too far-fetched to think that she might have really had dark skin. When you think of the Cradle of Civilization, you think of the people that are in that area and the color of their skin is dark. I would suppose it would have to be living in a climate such as that. Love the collaged effect that this photo has. I could have imagined that you might have created it in Photoshop or something. Incredible how sometimes the "happy accidents" are the best. Great poem, Tess.

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  63. 'Choss'photo (good) on your sidebar.
    Interesting about the 'Black Madonna'and your poem is still being fathomed.I'm the sort of person that can appreciate an 'E-type' without knowing about the inside workings.

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  64. A powerful linking of the domestic commonplace with an altogether more exotic ambience.

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  65. A powerful linking of the domestic commonplace with an altogether more exotic ambience.

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  66. Teri, I didn't add any textures with photoshop, just tweaked the contrast slightly so you could easily see the Black Madonna's image.

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  67. screamin'ianSun May 15, 11:27:00 AM

    Gorgeous

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)