“The Virgin’s name was Mary.” Luke 1:27

“And the angel said unto her, Fear Not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God.” Luke 1:30



If we could bring her back

For just a morning,

For a cup of coffee, a cranberry scone,

And the day’s headlines,

To really talk with us,


If she would have said



She’d remember things

Differently than we were taught

To believe.


She’d start off blaming


Drunk as she was

On God’s wine that night–

Hearing how He favoured her

“Amongst all women,”

The scent of white lilies, and

Shining with the honey-sweet smile

And soft face

Of an angel.


“No, thank you,” or

“I don’t even know you,” or

“I’m in love with someone else.”

She could only accept Him–

All-powerful as He was, and she,

A frightened adolescent, in some ways,

Still a child, alone

In her room that stormy March eve.

She could not push Him off

Or His intentions away.

Predestined, as she was.

Chosen before the World was created,

So they said.


Who said that?

Who said I had no choice? She’d demand.

Even though she knew

It wasn’t worth knowing.

It would just make her angry, and this is way past.

Ancient, she’d say.


Oh Mary, we know you

Were not wearing tight jeans or smoking

Lucky Strikes on a corner off of Van Ness

or in a bar at midnight, Rue de la Seine.

And still it happened

To you too.


Had you known, Mary

That the so-called Lord has tried this

Tired line time and again,

That you were like other women,

All Women, I wonder,

If you would have still felt

Like you had to say yes?


I’d whisper the name

Satyavati as you sipped your coffee,

And tell you that in her case,

It was a boat, and “the Lord”

Sent a Sage to do His work.

He promised her she’d stay a virgin.

Sound familiar?


True story, Mary. When I was a child

Your statues were seen weeping blood

At my church. I think I know now why.


What if you asked the Lord

That night, in your own defense,

To slow down,

Not to be in such a hurry?


Maybe He’d have to change.


He’d have to say to you,

“Mary, I need you, but

We can’t be together in the way

The world would understand.”


Maybe you could have

Thought it over a little longer?


Or if you told him that

You’d really rather not

Get pregnant?

(You’d later recall your hidden

Admiration at the ecstasy of a Teresa–

Or a John.)


Their God, oh Mary, was no misogynist.


Mary, does this make us sinners? Are we sinners? I’d ask.

We didn’t listen to your story. To be honest, I’d say ashamedly,

We didn’t really think you had one.

Silent night

Could be a feminist hashtag, you’d say.


O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!


When He comes back,

Use your teeth. Kick. Yell. Scream

“Fire” (Since “Help” doesn’t seem to work.)

Do whatever you can.


And if He threatens

To abandon You

For good, to leave you with nothing,

To die alone, without child, and

Forgotten by the world


Dare Him.


Stephanie Van Hook is the Executive Director of the Metta Center for Nonviolence.

Slideshow image (“Triptych of the Nativity” by García del Barco) courtesy of Wikimedia.

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