The Maker

The Maker

Icons stacked as hubcaps against the wall,
the moonlit images dissemble,
yet a subtle hand is at work
in gilt and wood.

A woman, hair half-covered
nose to nose with her child,
savours breath,
lids lowered,
lips not quite touching.

Her shawl shields the babe from a bright mirrored halo,
there is peace in that moment, stillness
in the world of dove and pearl,
of liquid dew
or ice
that holds no pretension to last.

No tint, not one colour or another
for the girlish face with
eyes that look to the horizon.


Leaned at the front, a frieze of two cupids,
a boy that wants and takes,
a stolen kiss.


Behind them, the man who loves and forebears,
and against his profile the wife who holds his foster child
hidden from view, the precious cause
of their peace and joy and fear.
The sanctity of an instant
where in the flowing garment of time
lives join together.

Only in one small scene set in rich brown wood
is the whole family on view.
Time has passed,
breathing, smiling and watching
no longer sharp
knives of joy.

She, the woman, with her hair covered, and the man and the child,
come alive in the maker’s hands,
over and over again,
always with love,
always aglow.
Gabrielle Barnby, Dec 2017


The Maker was inspired by this photograph by Annie Wright © and written during a Stromness Writing Group session in St Mary’s church, Stromness.

Gabrielle Barnby, poem, Orkney, The Maker, Christmas 2017, AnnieWrightPhotography-Derry-

For more information about Annie Wright please visit her website.

Gabrielle Barnby