Transfiguration of the Black Madonna (excerpted from Zenith) **
Gypsy Goddess; Gypsy Saint
Black Madonna, full of snakes, let your crescent down. Wield the sickle, rush the milk, and
salt the serpents’ mouths. Golden bangles, black milk snakes—these adorn your arms. Blue sky
cloth cut for (you) Sarah, Sarah Black, Madonna Shadow, cut for goddess saint of wanderers,
cut predestined, cut of chaos, cut the star palm bowls. Slip the feathers under scales and
reform the body whole. You were a slave who sailed the chasm, sailed the sea and sun.
Persecution sprang a river from the monster: milk, and spit, and blood. In the monster lived a
woman and the woman’s soul—you wore her face and wore her tresses spun from black snake
gold—golden teeth and golden brow, golden tail and root. The milk snakes split their nests and
fled and now your mouth is ruined. There is no birth, there is no death, there’s only mutant
growth, and milk snakes dyeing Sarah’s skin with heaps and heaps of gold. There is no sickle,
there is no moon, there is no blood or salt. There’s only Sarah sailing through the dream in
which she’s caught.
** please note that this poem is about Santa Maria del la Mer, – however she is also a Black Madonna… and what I was hoping to do was to take a moment and share a thought about Black Madonnas. The author of the poem, Jessica Reidy, has kindly got in touch to share with us more information about Santa Maria del la Mer and her Romani background.
I would strongly ask you to take read the following article, that Jessica has shared . It’s is fascinating and offers a wonderful insight to the history of no only Kali Sara but other Black Madonnas and the Romani memory and worship of them.
Also please, read more of Jessica’s poetry, as it is truly beautiful.