A Portrait in Pain

Source: athanasiuscm.org

A crimson trickle stains the floor

now disturbed by the artist’s name.

In the darkened room

they watch with curious stares

at a scene beyond belief.


Locked in cells of their own making

the prisoners look through the bars

of captivity to a man

not any man,

but a voice that cried in the wilderness

“make straight the way of the Lord.”


Gold platter in hand

she, Salome stoops to scoop up

the head of the one

they call the Baptist,

but it lies still attached to a body

covering the legs of a lamb

led to another slaughter.


The wrinkled woman’s scream

is silent in space

hanging low

over the red cloak

flowing freely over

a body nearing life’s end.


Knife poised in hand

he is ready

to honor Herod’s request,

a gift to a dancer’s moves

mesmerizing Herod

once touched by

John’s wild words.


The paint of pain pours

onto the canvas of

light and dark shadows

overwhelming a holy place,

St. John’s Co-Cathedral

in Valetta, Malta.


Visio Divina of Caravaggio’s Beheading of John the Baptist

Viola Athaide is a student in the Windows of Theology program at Regis College, Toronto. She currently teaches Scripture at her local parish church.

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 07:32h, 30 October Reply

    Thank you Viola!

  • Jacqui
    Posted at 11:18h, 31 October Reply

    Your words always create such a picture for me.
    I have always known the story of Solome and John the Baptist but your poem adds such depth and feeling.
    God bless you for sharing your talent with us.

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