The boy woke daily
seeing her, serenely dolorous,
a single tear on her face
close-framed by veil and scarf,
with just the end of one forefinger
visible beneath her mantle
of blue and queenly gold.
He wondered what was at
Her countenance rooted deep
as he got on with life,
pausing at similar images
until, in his fiftieth year,
he reached her in sculpted form.
She stood upon a serpent’s head;
in its mouth an apple. Her hands
would have been in low orans –
but both were missing, lopped off.
On the pedestal, worn, carved words:
Let me use your hands and bring …
then three words too eroded to read.
In his sixtieth year he revisited her.
The hands had been restored,
rough-fixed, and the inscription
renewed. He read the last three
words … Christ to others.
Stephen Regan’s poems have been published by: Shooter, Envoi, Killing the Angel, Reach Poetry and Indiana Voice Journal. His work is also in the following anthologies: The Quality of Mersey, Best of Manchester Poets, and Fragile Things. He is the founder of the Liver Bards writers’ group in Liverpool.