Various artists’ renderings of the Visitation,
Two women. Usually, a centered pose.
A handclasp, or a dancer’s line of arm
lifted to embrace. Here static form,
there chiaroscuro in the folds of clothes
speak volumes: women serve here as dumb shows.
Backgrounds are more alive — a Tuscan storm,
a row of brooding poplars. In the corners,
donors or saints irrelevantly doze.
One wonders why the artists never heard.
The drama is not in image here, but sound —
not fluid waves of veil covering hair,
but holy terror. Listen: the praise of God
who lifts the weak. Who throws the strongmen down.
Hear how the words unnerve this privileged air.