Medieval Mother And Child (Carved Somehow)



Medieval Mother And Child (Somehow Carved)

I don’t know why it is
my babe’s a little man,
nor why he stands so perched
upon my arm and hand–

nor why I mayn’t be touched
by any other,
only that when he suckles,
he’s certain babe enough–

and man.  Then, that my breast
turns round as the sky’s sun,
hard and sturdy-stemmed,
in his fine-fingered palm,

as a pomegranate;
I fear then–oh, I fear—
that such rubied pride will burst
in fountained drops near

crimson, prisming the air
in their first flood,
but darking to a sluice
of side-slid blood,

our every round gullied
by its rivulets.
No babe can be so held
as to tourniquet

that flow; nor arms so braced
to hold off sorrow’s touch.
This, I know. Yet, e’en the wood
in me craves so much;
where stone, I long,
where bone, I mourn.


A draft poem of sorts, written belatedly for the wonderful Brian Miller’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub asking for something medieval.  I am also posting for With Real Toads Tuesday Platform.   Above is the picture (copyright infringement not intended) of a medieval German madonna and child from New York City Metropolitan Museum.  Below is a non-medieval madonna and child in Uruguay, whose pic was taken by yours truly. 



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23 Comments on “Medieval Mother And Child (Carved Somehow)”

  1. brian miller Says:

    i would hate to think even the son of god was robbed a childhood, forced to be a man so fast…the wood in me is an interesting shadow of the cross maybe, even the blood…and the thought that even a mother can not save her son from such a death…

  2. Gunslinger Poet Says:

    wow, you went deep with this prompt. i like it!

  3. Indeed.. he looks like a little man.. and so strange to see that mingled with the picture of a suckling babe.. It really make you ponder.

  4. claudia Says:

    it’s interesting that they actually painted or sculptured all the little kids so that they look like adults during that time… dunno exactly where this came from – probably there’s some kind of message behind it.. i do think though that jesus had a happy childhood and i bet he was kinda a wild kid as well..ha.. a lausbub as we would say over here in germany…smiles

  5. gailatthefarm Says:

    The last verse was entirely too real…I’m reeling with what i perceive the meaning to be.

    Well said.

    Thanks for your kind comments during your visit.

  6. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    This is just exceptional! The voice of the Mother speaks with ringing clarity down the centuries.

  7. Grace Says:

    The ending is very sharp but these lines are remarkable by itself:

    Then, that my breast
    turns round as the sky’s sun,
    hard and sturdy-stemmed,
    in his fine-fingered palm,

    as a pomegranate;

    A gem to read today K ~

  8. WOW! what a fantastic write. You have captured the cadences of speech to perfection. I love the lower photo, such joy!!!

  9. Nice poetic expression and ahh.. Mother and child.. always symbol for the greatest goal of Unconditional Love..:)

  10. It’s got a certain serenity. I love the pace of it. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  11. hedgewitch Says:

    Some very adroit and pleasing language usage here, k ( as well as a bit of a tongue in cheek approach to the sacred that soon becomes something stealthily more and deeper.) I especially liked the blood imagery following the nursing, the slithery ‘s’ sounds of the fifth stanza really intensifying the visual–and the sonorous ending, like the radiance of faith before it was corrupted. This was a wonderful treat after a long day slaving for my chicken babies, who will never stand still long enough to perch on my arm.

  12. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    Both madonnas are lovely; I can’t pick a favourite, can only say I love each in its difference from the other (its uniqueness). I vey much like the poem too, in the way it interprets and expresses Her.

  13. margaret Says:

    ” nor arms so braced
    to hold off sorrow’s touch.”

    Now see, I do believe that Jesus was a very different baby and child – and that Mary did have a foreshadowing of grace and the sorrows that might occur… I do think their is symbolic significance in him being portrayed as a little man. I think Mary had a mother’s heart, of course, but she also knew her little babe was from God too… Fascinating poem.

    • margaret Says:

      meant to say “babe was son of God, too.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Yes, I think that is probably why the Medieval artists made the Christ child a little man, although I’m not so sure about their view of children generally (in Medieval times that is–I think children were treated more like little adults.) But I think you are right, Margaret, that the artists were certainly trying to show all those factors–Jesus’s divinity and Mary’s foreboding–Thanks, Margaret. (I just love Medieval madonnas actually.) k.

  14. Justin Lamb Says:

    Excellent writing. You added extra depth to the figure in the photo.

  15. This seems to me to be every mothers fear and prayer- the realization that even the fierce love of this suckling babe cannot stop the blood, the sorrow, despite how much we crave it. Your religious allusions deepen this, the blood from Jesus’ side, the wood of the cross, the stone of in the desert he prayed in, the bone foreshadowing death, but the human knowing that no babe can be held to tourniquet that flow is our plight as mothers.

  16. M Says:

    especially the penultimate verse, k. really fine pen ~

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