BETWEEN THE BUDDHA AND THE MARY
after paintings by Sas Colby
Between the Buddha and the Mary,
silence enters, falters, then expands.
Seen together, those familiar faces carry
something new. Like outstretched hands,
one is Buddha, the other Mary.
A marriage blooms: Mary. Buddha.
Girl and boy. East and West. Faces
meeting ours in frames of gold. A
touch of Burma, Black Madonna. Places
we’ve not been pull us in. (Neruda
would understand.) The Buddha and the Mary
watch us. Soon we’re no longer out
looking in. His level gaze. Her hair. He
asks us to receive. She invites. Wide
spaces open up for us. Oh, Buddha-Man,
we get an inkling of what your silent
smile is saying, what the halo plays.
For we are in you looking out, intent
to hear the anthems all ablaze.
Years apart, you and blushing Mary sent
us eyes to finally see. Furtive virgin, holy
man, even when our lids are closed
the vision stays! You teach us slowly
lest our tiny minds forget we are poised
for eternity. Baby steps toward the Wholly
Other. Some days we awaken and look
at one another to find that you are me. I am you.
Those once apart are now the same, a book
with facing pages pressed together. Who
knew? The Buddha and the Mary remake,
transform our stumbling thoughts (Mary
in her pondering, Buddha in his calm) to mesh
with theirs. I imagine it’s their prayer
that we might see, might shiver in our flesh
and know what lies between Buddha and the Mary.
–by Christine Hemp
from THAT FALL (Finishing Line Press)
IMAGE: Sas Colby , “In Our Own Image”
Twelve framed paintings each 9 x 12 inches, Black gesso and gold leaf on oil painted 4-ply museum board. Installation 41 x 41 inches