Monday, March 28, 2011

That Smile

Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, from C2RMF retouched

That Smile

Her father sent her off to wed
the husky son of a hundred counts.
He took her in his arms, she bled
her credentials out upon his bed.
He smiled.

Six strapping sons, three dead at birth
four daughters later, the silence mounts
a siege before what’s left of worth;
the sea, the sky, the endless earth
still smile.

Somewhere beneath the castle floor
the masons are bricking the crypt of counts.
The catacombs are quiet once more;
just the faintest echo behind a door.
She smiles.

March 2011

Posted for  Magpie Tales~#59

Image: La Gioconda, by Leonardo da Vinci, c 1503-1519, Oil on poplar
Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Holy Moly!! This sucked me right in. Great description and depth. Excellent.

  2. This may be the most apt description for the smile on her face as I have ever read. finally life is hers and hers alone.

  3. You have such a jaundiced view! I think she is smiling because she sees a shiny object, but I could be wrong.

    Ten children. Yikes. If it were me being sold off as a brood mare, I would only smile if he tripped and fell down the stairs.

  4. release! I particularly like the last line. So she bricked him up in the end did she?!

  5. yup. donna got it right. holy moly.

    a very wonderful write, she bled
    her credentials out upon his bed.
    slapping head!!


  6. Ten children and still smiling. Whatta gal.

  7. But is it a smile fom the grave? Sheesh!

  8. What an interesting take...couldn't stop reading. The smile of a survivor! Great piece. Vb

  9. I like this, hedgewitch. I've never thought her smile was a happy one--more one of indifference.

  10. That first stanza is just amazing!

  11. Oof! You, er, nailed, this one. Very very nice!

  12. Being sent off to wed would have been terrible. But really, ten children is not a horror - it may have been the only reason she wanted to smile! :) I thought this poem really reached back in history quite well and made us see what some lives were really like!

  13. I have no idea why I liked this poem but I do.

    Perhaps I’m fed up trying to find reasons for everything and then explaining them.

    Plant a seed and let it grow into whatever the hell it likes.

  14. Thanks all--have some real life stuff to do, but I'll try to come visit and see everyone's take on this one as soon as I can.

  15. Mysterious smile, no longer! Murder, She Wrote?

  16. Oh, so good! I am clapping!! I totally love it. Sometimes you have to wait a bit, but then.......oh that smile!

  17. She who laughs last, endures. For centuries, we've been trying to figure out that smile. DaVinci's code for it, with a thousand spoofs launched from its faint contours. You take is contemporary and old, that no matter how we try to control her, breed her (heavens, " he took her in his arms, / she bled
    her credentials out upon his bed" -- what a rape of a wedding night), paint her, Woman -- like the Dude-- abides. Like the Lord who "survives the rainbow of HIs will" in Lowell's "Quaker Graveyard," dear Mona surpasses the aegis of her fame. - Brendan

  18. What depth!!

    Intense and some creativity. I forgot to smile for once here. I have goosebumps all over!!

    Very well written

    Hugs xox

  19. Certainly grabed my attention, hard hitting but effective! Sombre take on prompt.

  20. Gosh Brendan certainly did a riff
    with this material. Great poem,
    and for many of the reasons noted,
    good historical references, great
    POV from the distaff side of the'
    bed chamber, revenge served cold
    and all that, like Catherine of Aragon,
    a matriarch with a secret; and as
    to that smile, that smirk, they say
    dentists were for shit in those time.

  21. Love this! My third favorite (in order of reading) take on Lisa - perfect!

  22. So, was she smiling because the masons were bricking him in? Great Magpie.

  23. Ten children would make me weep. Must be a smile of a madwoman.

    Love your take, hedgewitch. : /

  24. The most original take yet, I think. This gave all sorts of pleasures.

  25. So powerful. I had a strong reaction to this: first goosebumps, then tears. Neither is going away too quickly, either.

  26. Dear Hedgewitch: There definitely is something cooking under that smile! And to think it is alive all this time after all the counts are finished being counts; but who's counting? Mona may be...?:)


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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