Early Christian icon, the Virgin of Vladimir

Painted with egg tempera on a wooden board, this icon of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus has been treasured in Russia since the middle of the 12th century when the painting traveled from Constantinople to Kiev and on to Vladimir.

To the Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir
by Mary Harwell Sayler

Your eyes
bear the world’s
incredible sadness,
your lower lids
descending
into cups
that cannot contain
your grief.

Your mouth
depicts
the close touch
of your Son’s cheek –
only a newborn now
but shown
as a miniature man
already ready
to comfort.

Did you sense this?

Did you feel your
heart steadied
by your Infant
and His
infinite hand?

©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. The poem “To the Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir” first appeared in 2011 on Catholic Lane and then in the book of Bible-based poems, Outside Eden, published by Kelsay Books.

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