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