On the domed ceiling God

is thinking:

I made them my joy,

and everything else I created

I made to bless them.

But see what they do!

I know their hearts

and arguments:

“We’re descended from

Cain. Evil is nothing new,

so what does it matter now

if we shell the infirmary,

and the well where the fearful

and rash alike must

come for water?”

God thinks Mary into being.

Suspended at the apogee

of the golden dome,

she curls in a brown pod,

and inside her the mind

of Christ, cloaked in blood,

lodges and begins to grow.

— “Mosaic of the Nativity: Serbia, Winter 1993” from Otherwise: New and Selected Poems (1996)

Jane Kenyon (1947–1995) was an American poet whose work is characterized by an infusion of the worldly and spiritual. Writing in a plain free-verse style, Kenyon often wrote about the rural New Hampshire where she and her husband poet Donald Hall settled down after moving from Michigan. While not ostensibly a religious poet, her Christian faith and spiritual concerns play prominent roles in many of her poems. Succumbing to leukemia, Kenyon left behind four collections of poems and a translation of Russian poet Anna Akhmatova.

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