Madonnas and Child
after a painting Mother and Child by Maurice Sterne 1926
“He was suckled at his mother’s breast.”
A classic image of maternal love,
the Madonna and child—-
visible in a thousand different faces,
a hundred various shades of skin tone,
ivory white to darkest brown.
Tranquility: the breast feeding hormone,
prolactin, releases its calming effect.
And a quiet peace steals a moment free from anxiety,
lines smooth on a weary woman’s face,
a racing heart slows to the rhythm of an infant nursing,
clutched protectively to a bare breast.
Mother to the world,
a transcendent experience, out-of-time,
the nurtured, nurturing child of God’s design
feeds on warm, sweet milk;
he tastes, digests his mother’s muted fear.
Her terror packs away in bundles slung
over an ass’s back and tied with sturdy cords.
A warning thunders in the distance,
the sound of hooves, the rumble of chariots..
Tanks roll across the horizon, the vibrations of artillery
detonate in the next village.
The soldiers come, and come once more…
and safety is always a thousand mile flight
across the shifting sands…
the landscape of another war.
c. Darlene Moore Berg