Free Verse – Humility – Marcy Erb

Upon Glimpsing the Allegory of Humility in the Sculpture Gallery

From a distance I label her the personification of humility
Hands wrapped about herself, like the Virgin Mary,
Her bronze shawl draped about her head, neck, breasts
To shield her beauty and keep her modesty, even under glass.

Upon approach, I realize she is called “Winter,”
Her limbs seem to shiver, cold from the touch of cast metal.
Her skin is textured and though summer outside the museum,
I am aware of the vent of chilled air above me, for she may simply
Be a cold young woman with no shelter, not an allegory of season
The cold will do that, I marvel, it will take away
Every comfort, every quality you used to describe yourself
Reduce your books to powder and brick houses to tombs.
The speed and skill with which it can do this is variable,
But it will seep in eventually and humble you.

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