A memory clarified

Earlier today, I spoke at the retreat in Kiltegan about Our Lady.  I was trying to remember a poem given me by a priest a few years ago and talked about it, though I could not fully recall the details.  A painting of The Annunciation was the backdrop to the piece and I couldn’t remember the artist either.  I substituted with the name of an artist I could remember and said I was doing that.  I remembered enough of the poem’s message to make the point I wanted to make.  After the talk, one of the men said to me “I think it was Bellini”.  I thanked him and hoped I’d remember to make note of that.  After tea the same man slipped me a folded piece of paper.  The poem was sourced!  I appreciated the man taking the time to do this and thought, in honour of that kindness, that I might include the poem and picture here. It’s always good to clarify ….


and the poem, called IN THE KITCHEN, by Fr Killian McDonnell OSB.

(‘In the sixth month the angel Gabriel…’ Luke 1:26)

Bellini has it wrong,
I was not kneeling
on my satin cushion,
in a beam of light,
head slightly bent.

Painters always
skew the scene,
as though my life
were wrapped in silks,
in temple smells.

 Actually, I had just
come back from the well,
placing the pitcher on the table
I bumped against the edge,
spilling water on the floor.

As I bent to wipe
it up, there was a light
against the kitchen wall,
as though someone had opened
the door to the sun.

Rag in hand,
hair across my face,
I turned to see
who was entering,
unannounced, unasked.

All I saw
was light
white against the timbers.
A voice I’ve never
heard greeted me,

said I was elected, would
bear a son who’d reign
forever. The spirit would
overshadow me.
I stood afraid.

Someone closed the door
and I dropped the rag.

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