Madonna of the Snows

by Brenda Levy Tate
PenShells
Honorable Mention, January 2014
Judged by Robert Lee Brewer


The storm wraps her in winter,
swaddles her newborn with a cloak
fallen from air. “The Lord will provide.”
She bows against sea squalls.
In her salt garden at a field’s edge,
only strangers pass. They step away
from this concrete woman, leaning
beside a pine to protect her child.

The path is banked and billowed,
a shovel plunged into its folds.
Thorn hedges wear ice petals,
blooming in a land where only
the hellebore opens now: Christmas
Rose, sticky with musk. Blood
on leaves at her feet.

She gazes through the distance,
Mother of All Sorrows; starflakes
drift above her head. A spear of light
descends from the one who cast her,
alone with a half-god and eyes
that long to close.

She is his artifact, and ours as well,
fixed on an iron stake impaling the earth.
She has been created to stand mute
and accept that chaos will blast
every flower she has ever known.

Not even her sleeping babe can stir,
nor lose his robe to the briars.


This poem impresses me more with each reading. I love the final five lines, and I admire poets who attempt communicating a 'message' in their poems. Plus, it's unusual to see the term 'starflakes' in a poem--so kudos for that. --Robert Lee Brewer

  • March 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Cuttlefish
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Wings
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      gutterball
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • February 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Nebraska, Summer
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Goldback Fern
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Negotiatin’ Wi Demons (For wee Rabbie Burns)
      by John J. Williamson
      PenShells