The hermit kneels beneath the crucifix,
gazes at praying hands as if, were they
to part, some dove of innocence would leap
into the cloud-ribbed chasm of the sky,
domain of hidden predatory hawks,
wings and talons stretching as they swoop.
Behind him, there’s a Bedouin boy in flight
from lions (pacing, lean, intent on prey),
who seems afraid to break the silence there,
but lingers. This is where the urge to try
and see what happens next, clumsily fits
the vision to the view. The old man’s prayer
nests within his fingers, bony and strong,
and far from child or lion, right or wrong.
[Refer: This poem refers to the marble sculpture by Desiderio da Settignano of Saint Jerome in the Desert.]
JB Mulligan has had poems and stories in several hundred magazines over the past 35 years, has had two chapbooks published—The Stations of the Cross and THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS—and an e-book, The City Of Now And Then. His work has appeared in several anthologies, including Inside/Out: A Gathering Of Poets; The Irreal Reader (Cafe Irreal); and in multiple volumes of Reflections on a Blue Planet.
Image by NGA.gov