Widows of Jerusalem, I too was once young enough to believe my life mattered. When I woke, the sun rose for me. I tucked lilies in my hair. Now I am eighty years a temple dweller. What a wonder of faith! they proclaim. Truth is, I cry in the dark. I beg priests for bread and pick insects from my hem. But today, an infant came to be blessed. He curled into the crook of my arm, and when his eyes wandered to mine, I remembered every hope stored in my childhood’s heart: gazelles and henna shrubs, doves perched in the crags. I touched his face— that skin we were meant to wear forever.
Inspired by Luke 2:36–38, this poem appears in Tania Runyan’s first full-length poetry collection, Simple Weight (Lexington, KY: FutureCycle, 2010). Used by permission.
Tania Runyan, MA/MFA, lives in Illinois, teaching sixth-grade language arts, speaking at writing workshops, and writing poetry, much of which grapples with scripture. She is the author of five poetry collections—What Will Soon Take Place, Second Sky, A Thousand Vessels, Simple Weight, and Delicious Air—and the popular instructional guides How to Read a Poem and How to Write a Poem. Her most recent book is Making Peace with Paradise: An Autobiography of a California Girl, about her west-coast upbringing.
3 thoughts on ““Anna the Prophetess” by Tania Runyan (poem)”
What a great poem to link with that extraordinary sculpture by Sam Jinks. Woman and Child proved a beautiful devotional focus for a church meeting last January. I can’t help feeling quite chuffed that with Sam Jinks and fellow Australian-born Ron Muek, Down Under has produced two remarkable hyper-realist sculptors of profound insight into the human condition and its spiritual interior. Thank you.
Capturing the moment for all of us looking for the redemption of Jerusalem and all creation.