At 16 I was a Cubs fan from a Cubs family when I got drug to a “Dada & Surrealism” show at the Art Institute of Chicago. Now my brother says, “ I live here and you go to the Institute way more than me.” My book, Engines of Belief is an ekphrastic jubilee dedicated to Modern Art. edrpoet.com
How the Siege of Bethulia Ended
Based on Judith and the Head of Holofernes (1901) by Gustav Klimt
Eyes still half-mast, she is escaping
a desperate plunge into ecstasy and bears
the head of Holofernes, her husband’s slayer,
as she saunters from the general’s quarters,
an orgy of gore behind her.
Breasts exposed, this widow wears
a post-coital wash that appeared
as Holofernes dismounted,
fell back in drunken stupor.
The war-lord, general, exalted one
had not guessed that a beauty
who had whispered her desire
to be ushered into his tent would conceal
a butcher’s tool beneath silk.
Holofernes only glanced perfunctorily
at Judith’s necklace of beaten gold —
replica of the gated walls of Bethulia.
At this instant, the infants of her city
still cry and rage as they suck
at the withered teats of their mothers.
Within seconds corporals and guardsmen
fall upon Judith, slay and dismember.
At dawn, the Assyrians break camp in disorder.
Water flows back beneath the fruited trees.
The movement of water returns
like an anthem rising within
the throats of Judith’s kinsmen.
In their sleep for years to come,
the murdering guardsmen dream
that they could not, even with her organs
running the tips of their blades, touch
this woman who came toward them naked.
An icon of consummation, like flame, flame, flame;
as if their swords whipped wind through her form.
©2016 Ed Ruzicka
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF