Monday, January 26, 2015

Early Christian icon, the Virgin of Vladimir

Painted with egg tempera on a wooden board, this icon of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus has been treasured in Russia since the middle of the 12th century when the painting traveled from Constantinople to Kiev and on to Vladimir.

To the Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir
by Mary Harwell Sayler

Your eyes
bear the world's
incredible sadness,
your lower lids
into cups
that cannot contain
your grief.

Your mouth
the close touch
of your Son's cheek –
only a newborn now
but shown
as a miniature man
already ready
to comfort.

Did you sense this?

Did you feel your
heart steadied
by your Infant
and His
infinite hand?

©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. The poem “To the Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir” first appeared in 2011 on Catholic Lane and then in the book of Bible-based poems, Outside Eden, published by Kelsay Books.


  1. This one is especially beautiful. I remembered it from your book. You have such a descriptive way with words. Thank you for sharing your talent .

  2. Thanks for reading and responding, Nells. God bless.

  3. Nice, Mary. I too often wonder about Mary's emotions knowing that she bore the Son of God.

  4. Yes, and she was always there. Thanks, Joyce.