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The Annunciation, John Waterhouse (1849-1917)

The Annunciation

The angel and the girl are met,
Earth was the only meeting place,
For the embodied never yet
Travelled beyond the shore of space.
The eternal spirits in freedom go.

See, they have come together, see,
While the destroying minutes flow,
Each reflects the other's face
Till heaven in hers and earth in his
Shine steady there. He's come to her
From far beyond the farthest star,
Feathered through time. Immediacy
of strangest strangeness is the bliss
That from their limbs all movement takes.
Yet the increasing rapture brings
So great a wonder that it makes
Each feather tremble on his wings.

Outside the window footsteps fall
Into the ordinary day
And with the sun along the wall
Pursue their unreturning way
That was ordained in eternity.
Sound's perpetual roundabout
Rolls its numbered octaves out
And hoarsely grinds its battered tune.

But through the endless afternoon
These neither speak nor movement make,
But stare into their deepening trance
As if their gaze would never break.

- Edwin Muir, 1887-1959

This is a re-post from last year, but it's too good not to include again.

Reader Comments (4)

I'm not a huge fan of Waterhouse, I guess because he doesn't seem to convey the emotions I want, although I love his palette.

The Muir poem is lovely. I always see the Annunciation as something quite different, however. I imagine this young woman in fear and panic, even while trying to be brave and spiritual.

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJen of A2eatwrite

The expression capture in the painting and the emotion evoked from the poem combine beautifully. Wow.

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

What would it have been like to be Mary. I often think on the words, "And she pondered these things in her heart." likely got the quote wrong, but I tend to do that. Anyway, I could never hve done that. I am a get thing's off my chest by calling my best friends and hashing over them kind of person. I've always admired Mary's ability to ponder in her heart.

December 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Wright

Before I read the other comments, I WAS going to say, "Where would the world be without Waterhouse?" because I love his paintings. But now I'm cowed into silence. :)

December 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi Ashworth

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