Triptych for the days following Incarnation.

Christmas has come, although the days of Christmas continue, on to day of the Presentation, right about now, Jesus is given his name.  Meanwhile, even though Mary conceived in a quite spectacular way, she gave birth the regular old way. So I have been thinking in a poetic sort of way about postpartum musings that might have come to Mary. This is of course a dangerous sort of undertaking, given that I am neither Mary nor a woman, nor someone who has given birth. So this could be all wrong. Yet the Incarnation is as much available to me as to any of us, I suppose. So I take heart.

The central panel is a new annunciation to Mary, that, after all this she might still fall in love, no explanation necessary. It is not by Mary, but to her. The panels to the left is Mary's ruminations on pleasuring, the one on the right on the risk taking of belief in the Incarnation.

With all the accent on Incarnation in Anglican theology and spirituality, we still fall short of the full impact Tillich's "Anglican heresy." Those of us who accent the Incarnation believe the Incarnation reverberates throughout the whole of creation, as if a God virus has come and spread across the world. The reverberation has been since the beginning, but in Jesus everyone who sees in him the Light catches on - God is loose in the world and nothing is only merely matter.

Hindu and other religious traditions may not have been very surprised by this possibility, but it is very disturbing to followers of monotheistic religions. We tend to tone the matter down by making Mary "mother mild," and not particularly remembering that she was also young, went on to have other children the regular old way,  had a particular stake in the reality of the Incarnation, might have spoken coarsely at the well and so forth.  These little poems are an experiment in remembering Mary, who risked her own night under the stars, her own pleasure and her faith, in this most remarkable of possibilities - that God might indeed be found among us.

Well, there it is.


Left Panel: Favor

Center Panel: Under the Stars
Right Panel: Faith


  1. I LOVE it!!!! Thank you Mark. And God bless you!

    wv: metric
    No, it's not. TBTG!

  2. I like this too.
    It calls to mind this passage from Blake's "The Everlasting Gospel:"

    "Was Jesus chaste? or did He
    Give any lessons of chastity?
    The Morning blushèd fiery red:
    Mary was found in adulterous bed;
    Earth groan'd beneath, and Heaven above
    Trembled at discovery of Love"

    I like it, but I think a lot of other people won't.
    Brace yourself for the outraged angry comments.

  3. Bishop Edmund2/1/11 7:12 AM

    Your nipples..."taunt"? Of course you mean "taut"? Are you kidding, Mark? It's bad enough you're an unorthodox poetaster, but can't you even spell?

  4. Bishop Edmund2/1/11 7:20 AM

    I apologize for that last comment. Your rhyming of "love" and "above" is your greatest poetic sin. For this, you should be lashed publicly. Love and above. You should be embarrassed of yourself. Then again, you're an Episcopal priest. Your least mental dribbling must be posted on that universal refrigerator called the Internet for everyone to coo over.

    There. That's a better metaphor than you could ever invent.

    By the way, your poem is blasphemous.

  5. Bishop Edmund...you are right, didn't catch that thanks. (re: taut)

    Then again, you are wrong: It may not be a good poem, but it is not blasphemous.

  6. and "Bishop Edmund", what is this stuff about rhyming "love" and "above"? Not in these poems. Perhaps somewhere else? If so, it means you actually read this stuff!

  7. My, my, my. Embodied, human, sexual, sensual love? Hardly the traditional stuff of The Virgin on the half shell.

    Which must be why I love it. Thank you, Mark, for this marvelous, holy scandal.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.