Descendants of tribes of David, we were
Desert wanderers, often given to prayer and
Soul-searching, solitary treks into stony
Wilderness, spiritual solitude, receptive to
Jehovah’s guiding words, gentle as evening
Breezes, revelations radiant as midday sun,
For he was present in our hearts and homes,
When my daughter Mary was born.
Thus was my Jewish family in days of wonder
And tumult, I was known as Hannah or Anne
In later years, obedient to our God, barren
Wife of Joachim, shepherd raising sheep for
Temple sacrifice, residing in Bethlehem,
During Roman occupation, soldiers’ presence
Heavy in our towns and villages, when my
Daughter gave birth to Jesus of Galilee.
As my eyesight dimmed, I recalled our family
History, fond memories, enduring visions
Etched upon Judean Mountains, wind-rushing
Cedars, divine light shimmering on Sea of
Galilee, our sacred mysteries celebrated,
Sacrifices and fasting, lives blessed, my quiet
Reflections inscribed on parchments time-
Faded in desert-buried urns.
Rebuke for my infertility brought life anew
For Joachim and myself. Desert prayers, birds
Nesting amongst laurel trees, conception of
One girl, Mariam, life dedicated to Jehovah,
So angels decreed, “The Lord had looked upon
Thy tears; thou shalt conceive and give birth,
And the fruit of thy womb shall be blessed by
All the world.”*
Our lives thorny roses, grace of velvet petals,
Blood-letting bristly pains, sanctuary to God
In Mary’s room, all generations called my her
Blessed. Angels approached my pure teenage
Child of Nazareth, and by Holy Spirit, Mary
Was conceived with Jesus the Messiah. Mary,
Mother of the Lord, who married Joseph,
God’s holy Virgin she remained.
Three decades we lived in God’s glory and
In conflict with Rome-enforced laws, my
Grandson growing in stature and in know-
Ledge of his heavenly father, and like us,
Jesus wandered deserts, praying, searching
For God’s wisdom and his mortal fate,
Crown of thorns, rose of love divine,
Sacrifices Jesus made, dying for our sins.
Whilst remembrances recorded on brittle
Parchment have dust-crumbled, love of
My holy family has remained steadfast.
Christ’s life and sacrifice are praised for
Two-thousand years, his words, his
Miracles live in holy scriptures and hearts
Of Christians beyond Galilee, his Day of
Resurrection, our prayerful exaltation.
For more on Saint Anne, see this link: http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/reames-middle-english-legends-of-women-saints-legends-of-st-anne-mother-of-the-virgin-mary-introduction * “The Catholic Encyclopedia,” edited by Charles G. Herbermann, PhD, LLD, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907, p. 538.