Occasionally, different poets will be moved by the same artwork. Here is Nancy Posey’s take on the Steve McCurry photograph of Burmese nuns. Photo of Nancy Posey courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford, taken at the September 19, 2015 Art of Poetry event at Hickory Museum of Art.
after “Procession of Nuns, Rangoon Burma” by Steve McCurry
Neither Madame Eglantine,
Mother Teresa or Sister Bernadine,
we fit no Western expectations,
this sisterhood of ours. We stroll
beneath flowered parasols, moving
in step with our shadows, without
regard for the sun on our skin,
already brown, but certain
of the spectacle we make, strolling
like Parisian mademoiselles
making their way to Le Grand Jatte,
rather than another sort of nuns,
silent in the street of Rangoon,
rice bowls collecting alms, then
temple-bound. The scent of candles,
perfumed incense wafts through
our dreams; bells chime, beckoning
us toward prayers, palmers bound
for some earthbound pilgrimage.
Just over our shoulders, we can
hear our old world crumbling.