Georges de La Tour)
A nocturne shadow deepens to frame
the pensive Magdalen as she sits alone,
her glinting jewels darken to common stone,
her fine clothes weave a red brocade of shame.
She contemplates the image of the flame
in the mirror, a taller chaperone
to the candle's graceful plume of light, shown
twice, as if meant to enlighten and inflame.
Conversion by candlelight: Mary's hands
rest on a skull in her lap, its ochre stain
the color of regret--to watch her choose
between mirror and candle, the demands
of self and truth, evokes a kindred pain
in anyone who has a past to lose.
[LORNA KNOWLES BLAKE is currently in the M.F.A. program in poetry at
Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in Pivot, The
the anthology Ravishing Disunities: Real Ghazals in English.]