"Christ in the Desert," Ivan Kramskoi, 1872, Wikipedia.
“Christ in the Desert,” Ivan Kramskoi, 1872, Wikipedia.

Of deserts cold and desolate I dreamt, night
Winds sand-rippling, lone traveler I met on
Moonlit rocky slopes, both of us east-facing,
First glimmer of dawning light. “For what
Do you search?” I asked. “The sun released
From chains. To accept who and what I am.
With light comes realization, suffering change,
Son of God unbound, released from mortal
Chains, miracles and sermons, savior for
Those who follow my teachings.”

“Are you that prophet?” I asked, first light
Of chill-chasing sun illuminated his gaunt
Face, for he had not eaten for several weeks.
“My Lord, we need you,” I offered. “For us,
Resist temptation to find another course.”
He nodded in full sun. “Who are you? He
Asked, tone of friend. “Master, I believe
This to be dream.” He took my hands and
Said, “Come, share my dream.”

Upon his face I gazed, visions of oneness
With all holy and good, each soul he knew
as if mosaic pieces wall-inlaid, their hearts
Glass-engraved, sick of heart and body,
Each blade of waving grass, sand upon the
Beach, sparrows on wing. I wanted to pull
Away but for his sake, we gripped hands on
Wrists, his life events a tapestry revealed for
My revelation. As much as I witnessed, less
I understood, yet as him, I accepted upon
Sun-illuminated ridge of desert stone.

Saint Mary Magdalene of the Desert, Jusepe de Ribera, c. 1641, WikiArt photo.
Saint Mary Magdalene of the Desert, Jusepe de Ribera, c. 1641, WikiArt.

Alas! I felt hammers pounding nails upon
Flesh and bone. How I hoped he would
Wrest himself free, defeat chains, scourges,
Crown of scalp-incising thorns. Such bonds
Of flesh given to save souls of mortal men.
Pains beyond endurance, I fell upon his feet,
Anointed with my tears, for I am dearest to
My Lord, woman who will proclaim all I
Witnessed and loved from this desert-
Dream awakening, Mary Magdalene.

Aside from New Testament Gospel references, this poem
includes imagery from “Prometheus Bound” by Aeschylus.
“Kratos: Fasten them [chains] round his arms with all thy
strength! Strike with thy hammer! Nail him to the rocks!”

Thus is my poetic interpretation, Mary Magdalene with Christ
in the desert, “The sun (son) released from chains. To accept
who and what I am.” Spiritual versus physical release.

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