I know why I am drawn
to statues formed of bronze,
or alabaster, marble white —
The wall plaque won at the age of ten
for a 4th grade spelling bee, an ivory Madonna,
calm child enfolded in soothing arms, the curve
of cheek, the fullness of lips that purse
to kiss, the contemplative love —
The coldness cloaks a warmth,
a figure cast or shaped from life —
Yet hollow are the sockets, with sight
beyond what eyes can see, an airy space
contained within that defies the solidity.
And when I see it, I am folded, too,
into that peace and formality, that death
in active sleep, a space for dreams.
© 2012 Annie King 4-7-12
When I wrote this poem, thinking of that little plaque, barely six inches tall, smooth and unseamed, with a hole in the back to place upon a nail, and the face of the Madonna and her young child with his bare arm, and the curve of the faces and the folds of her cloak and mantle, I think of how many times through the years, when I find it in a childhood box, I want to touch it, and how the same feeling is evoked when I see a statue, or even a photograph of one. There is something about an image captured in a tactile manner that differs from a painting. And yet, I do not touch it. I gaze upon it, like a piece in a museum, and cup it in the palm of my hand.