December 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception ~ The Wings She Has Carved Herself Out of the Cold.




Surrounded By All The Falling

After four days of rain
sunlight fills the branches like returning birds,
one of those flocks men believed
they could shoot at forever and never reach the end.
They went fluttering, one by one,
to extinction in seven years.
But this day startles in its sudden gold,
its colored persimmons, rust and fallen

blonde madonna-and-child-g
pine needles blond as a child's hair on the barber's floor;
the sound of his snipping businesslike and crisp.
When loss reaches her, she cannot even cry out,
But where has it gone?

madonna-with-child-1658.jpg!xlMediumAnd the sky is so utterly blue it can barely be faced.
It is time to plant bulbs again,
to fork and seed the empty beds into flower.
I turn to feel the sleep-warmth of your hands,
the even breathing that tells me you are close by...

Raphael Madonna and child
it is still the only story that lets me wake content,
emerge from all the falling of dreams,
the crowded harbor of ships whose riggings
ring like bells,
dance like circus wires

The girl slides down from the swiveling chair,
her hair combed to new curls.
Soon enough,
I can tell by the day's
windowed, blowsy beauty, it will begin to snow.

Botticelli Intaglio
She will lie down in it, carefully move
her arms once up, once down
and rise to contemplate quietly, a long time,
the wings she has carved herself out of the cold.

~Jane Hirschfield

Bobby’s Ave ~ Pure Bliss

Please have a listen. I have heard Bobby McFerrin do sing this and had the pleasure of accompanying him along with thousands of others in an audience. It was a wonderful experience.



The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is universally celebrated on December 8, nine months before the feast of the Nativity of Mary, which is celebrated on September 8. (Anglican)


  1. Dearest Noelle, this has brought tears to my eyes, it is too much emotion first thing in a morning!  First the most beautiful Mary images with deep and meaningful words beside. Then this audience with Bobby McFerrin how special was that! What it represents, the spontaneous interaction of harmony and enjoyment that a group of people can create at lib.  

    Thank you so much, this reading, viewing and listening is taking blogging to whole new level and is created by our loving circle of hearts!

    Have a beautiful day my friend,

    PS I am going to copy this comment just in case it get lost in transit! ;~)

    Sue x

  2. Beautiful images. I started to think, all that I have collected is new art compared the what is out there from the last 2000 years. These are truly stunning whenn you look deep into them. The verse is beautiful too. Places womankind, in the image of Mary, into everyday life and beyond. Wonderful all around.

    Much Peace

  3. Recuerda_mi_corazonDecember 7, 2011 at 5:46 AM

    good morning dear friend,

    i have read the words of jane hirchfield three times now and i am not finished yet!
    i like to think when you offer us such profound beauty that i am tasting the essence of your mother's love in you.
    thank you for this sacrament of motherlove. this promise of spring bulbs, these wings of perfect sacrifice.

  4. I absolutely did not breath while reading this!  so so powerful and tender at the same time.  Which image is the last one of the Madonna?  It is achingly beautiful!

  5. So many masterpieces here today! The poem is so felt like the ocean's tide...
    pulling back into itself and crashing forward again.
    And Bobby's Ave Maria made me cry...with joy.
    Thank you♥♥♥

  6. Very touching and beautiful pieces and words. wonderful.

  7. Thank you so much for that video of Bobby and the Ave Maria. I will keep that site forever. Ave Maria was sung at our wedding 52 years ago and will be sung at my funeral for sure. Not quite as impressive as that I am sure. So glad you got to be part of that. Blessings at The celebration of the Birth of Jesus.

  8. Wow! Words are not enough ~ the photos are heavenly and your poetry exquisite ~~ thanks, namaste, Carol (A Creative Harbor) Happy AVAD ^_^

  9. Hettienne, thank you dear. It is an Intaglio of Mary from Botticelli. His style is inimitable. You may take it for your site :-).

  10. QMM, so very glad that it touched such a special place in your heart of hearts. Blessings to you as well.

  11. wow - you have included so many of my favorites! but the prose are new to me, and strike a chord. Thank you.

  12. I really can't tell you how beautiful this post is to me...I can try!
    your words are floating in the air and I am floating with them, what a serene joyful post!!!

  13. Thank you Peggy. I am at work right now and just saw this. That means a lot to me.
    Peace and Light to you,

  14. Fran aka RedondowriterDecember 7, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    A plethora of virgins and Hirshfield to boot. My favorite of the lot is the Mary alone by Botticelli. Now I'll listen to McFerrin. 

  15. Ah....breathing all of this in deeply.

  16. Magical Mystical TeacherDecember 7, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    All of these images are haunting and holy!

    of the Open Arms

  17. Yours is a visual feast of such beautiful virgins- most of which I've never ever seen before.   A truly delightful post!

  18. Wow-what a feast of Mary images here along with the prose! My heart sings.


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