Erin Belieu

(1967 - / Ohama / Nebraska)

In Ecstasy - Poem by Erin Belieu

at the altarpiece of Saint Teresa

No need to be coy—
you know what
she's doing

And so did Bernini,
when he found Teresa
in the full-throttle of
her divine vision,
caught her at it,

carving this surrender
so fluidly you expect
the impossible:

for her tang to swell up, ripe
as seafoam, from the gulf
of her flushed and falling
figure. Perhaps this is how

God comes to us,
or should come to us, all:

the bluntly and
beautifully corporeal at

prayers in the Sunday
school of pleasure. Why

shouldn't He come to us
as He did to Teresa? A saint

on her back—
a girl tearing open
the gift He gave her?

Comments about In Ecstasy by Erin Belieu

  • Susan Williams (3/29/2018 3:39:00 PM)

    Her autobiography, describes an angel with a golden spear who: appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and... to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; ... The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. [Teresa expresses her intense desire for God in the language of bridal mysticism'- [ passion]]
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  • Susan Williams (3/29/2018 3:32:00 PM)

    To represent the true intensity of Teresa's experience, Bernini shows her swooning in near- rapture, with eyes closed and mouth open, and both her visible limbs hanging limp.... The childlike angel looks lovingly at Teresa as he prepares to pierce her heart with his spear of divine love, completing her mystical union with God see (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (3/29/2018 3:24:00 PM)

    The statue depicts an event of religious ecstasy in the life of the nun Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) . Belieu meant this to be religious art but it looks like Teresa was having an instead of an intense moment of divine joy. Many people were outraged at how he depicted her holy experience. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (3/29/2018 10:34:00 AM)

    A great tribute Saint Teresa. Loved it. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Glen Kappy (3/29/2018 8:44:00 AM)

    Tang? Overlooking that and what appears an unnecessary extra space between the first and second stanzas, I like this poem—its brevity, fresh and vivid phrasing, its wondering. As to what appears her salacious interpretation of the sculpture, I’d be interested to sit across from her over coffee or tea to converse on that. And I’d like Bernini there as well. -GK (Report) Reply

    Lantz Pierre (3/29/2018 10:47:00 AM)

    I would happily be the fly on the wall for that. I like her salacious take. Bernini was more likely familiar with the look of earthly ecstasy than heavenly rapture. Belieu seems a bit over-angry in the bulk of her other work though. I bet the conversation would be lively, and maybe a little contentious. I interpret the tang reference as (feminist) pejorative. The angel holds an arrow, not a knife.

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (3/29/2018 5:56:00 AM)

    S great tribute to Saint Teresa nicely presented. Thanks and congratulations for being selected this poem as the poem of the day. (Report) Reply

  • (3/29/2018 4:07:00 AM)

    She is the tone of admiration and look of ecstasy for every occasion........Saint Teresa was she....a great tribute
    indeed.......thanks for sharing....10
    (Report) Reply

  • (7/20/2016 6:17:00 AM)

    Outstanding tribute to Saint Teresa. Thanks for sharing.10 points. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Poem Edited: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

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