Making Magic: Beauty in Word and Image features 16 poems that visitors can listen to at “poetry nooks” in the exhibition. Here is one by Christopher Bursk:
Madonna with Child and Eight Angels –Botticelli – 1478
Eight long-legged kids with pageboy haircuts, each holding an extravagant
bloom over his head the way he might an umbrella
Eight high school freshmen performing a cappella for the Virgin Mary
who’s just given up a promising career and looks now
as if nothing will cheer her
Eight lads serenading a young woman and a child
who long before the camera’s invention
seems to be looking into one as if about to give up
his pose and bawl for his mother’s nipple, at which point
what will the eight boys do?
Eight neighborhood pals with angels’ voices, singing doo-wop,
all not so much younger than Mary
they couldn’t have a crush on her,
and not that much older than her baby
that they’d mind singing silly songs for him till he fell asleep,
eight potential babysitters for the Son of God.
Eight youths, four on either side of Mary
as if they were her wings, and, should she wish,
they’d transport her anywhere her heart desired
Eight gangly ninth graders holding white lilies and singing
from gem-encrusted hymn books and still
it’s not enough to bring a smile to the face
of Mary who knows there’s not enough beauty in the world
to make up for all the agony to come.
You can listen to the poet read his own work as you read the poem. WHat do you think about this poem? How do you think it relates to the theme of beauty? PLease share your thoughts with us!