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A young woman, with a babe in arms, sits

beneath a mosaic of the Virgin

and Child under a medieval arch and begs.

Set in the tower above them is a clock,

which plays ‘Ave, ave, ave Maria’.

The narrow space is clogged with tourists

from the cruise ships and the tour buses.

Most do not give. She might be roma:

like the woman, begging with a toddler

near the amphitheatre, to whom we gave

but said nothing, did nothing seeing a

child of that age, though bonny enough,

play on the street. Something is wrong – such begging,

such indifference, such circumspection!

Have we all become senza anima

without soul – or do these mothers love

their children beyond shame?




© Copyright David Selzer
1 Response
  • John Huddart
    September 30, 2014

    3 powerful first lines. Images of Christian significance enfold each other like a Russian doll. The whole becomes a parable of genuine care and guilt in which no one escapes without blame. This is new New Testament material!

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