Announcement

Currently accepting submissions from current University of Kent students at

submissions@dissonance
magazine.co.uk

On Viewing The Assumption of the Virgin

On Viewing The Assumption of the Virgin

I
The viewer always stands too close
and cannot fully see through
reflections that come from the halogen bulbs
and spot out and blot out parts of the painting
but show off the brush strokes very well
 
II
At the point of Mary’s assumption
the disciples all appear transported from wherever
not to say goodbye but to witness Mary
to witness the miracle because miracles
must be seen or what is the point
 
III
Mary’s bed becomes a sarcophagus
with the moon-blue tomby lid slid back
 
IV
Mary’s body bursts into lilies
which spill out to open their death sigh
 
V
Mary has gone to where seraphim
with their sass wait and many biblical celebrities
chatter like an audience in pantomime season
before the show starts and it’s all fairy godmothers
and monks and cherubim robbed of ferocity
suspended on invisible string as floating torsos
or just as heads wrapped in blue or red silks
they are celestial and beyond bodies now
 
VI
Mary looks older than she would have been
she would have been young to us
she would have been young to us
the viewer scribbles in a pocket book
and thinks, you don’t talk much, Mary
 
VII
He tilts his head forward,
points up though there is no higher
no embrace from the son
Mary’s face implores
but He does not make eye contact
 
VIII
The viewer knows Mary is initiated
Her light is absorbed by heaven through osmosis
for Mary is the Silent Mother now
Mary is Our Mother
 
IX
Meanwhile, a tiny horse
rears on the outskirts of Florence
on a road on the edge of the of the painting
where everyone without a name
has been shunted unaware
of the candid peripheral they’ve become
and the viewer likes this
much more than all the gold leaf
so the viewer puts her thumb nail
next to the figure
and a guard ushers her away

The Assumption of the Virgin, about 1475-6
Francesco Botticini, about 1446-1497
Tempera on wood, 228.6 x 377.2 cm
The National Gallery, London
Seen 18th March 2016

The Assumption of The Virgin Francesco Botticini

Alyssia MacAlister is a writer, editor, artist and mother who lives in Brighton. On both page and stage, Alyssia is concerned with exploring narratives within a poetic frame, finding the beautiful in the strange. Wide-ranging past interests include virtual reality and the female body, spiders and grief. Alyssia’s specialty is prose poetry, but she often works in found poetry and experiments with more traditional verse. When not poem-ing, Alyssia writes lucid fiction and essays, and creates artworks, mostly in pencil. She has a scalpel eye for word editing of any kind and can produce poetry workshops.

Not Being Blonde

Not Being Blonde