Young Woman with Halo


   Six hundred years ago, this was
   Mary Magdalene in designer dress,
   wife-to-be of a Florentine noble,
   the painting, a family commission.

   To palazzo guests she’d be as devout 
   and chaste as the one made saint,
   reading a hand-written prayer book –
   which none of the Marys ever had.

   This outrage didn’t matter then,
   of course, to medieval minds
   accepting what true religions
   fudge as the centuries come and go.

   And does it matter now, do we care,
   that this painting still gets away with it,
   and spawns postcards and fridge-magnets
   for barbarian hordes trundling past?

   Whatever … like an unquestioning
   fool, I’ve got myself one of each.


   Piero di Cosimo 1462-1522   Saint Mary Magdalene


© Nemo 2023
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