Doug Tanoury (1)

St. Christina the Astonishing

St. Christina prays, with head tossed back
And eyes uplifted toward heaven, as she kneels
In the topmost branches of a Birch tree,
Under a sky that I remember from my childhood,
A rare blue egg tempera wash that would hang
Over the near Eastside on June mornings.

In a tree crowded with colorful birds that sing
Sweet songs amid green foliage, perches one
Sepia Saint, a lone pelican far from the sea,
A white feathered symbol of transcendence
And selfless sacrifice escaping the strong smell
Of the sinful by climbing high and far from its reach.

On the ground below, two barefoot priests
In black robes look up, one holds a cord to bind her,
The other, a ladder to snatch her, twisting and kicking
Against their grasp, like a bird pulled from its perch,
Out of the rare blue air and egg tempera sky,
Out of all the June mornings of my childhood.

The painting St. Christina the Astonishing is used with the permission of the artist Cynthia Large – All Rights Reserved (

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