My Mariology

From Isis (whose Horus
Is not unlike Jesus)
Mary may have learned a thing
As well as from the ancient one
Demeter, the mother,
Who brings the spring
And don’t forget
The virgin Vesta
Tender of the sacred hearth
A virgin who’s yet given birth

Now Mary is standing,
Cradling Jesus
Same pose as Tyche,
Holding young Plutus
Plutus, the god of wealth and death
Of minerals, soil enriched by flesh

Tyche, called Fortuna, too
Hoists sometimes instead
The gubernaculum
The rudder, of the government,
Which steers the ship of state
The goddess of luck
Hail Mary
Who’s lumped in with Fate
The Moirae
The sisters three
A trinity:
Legislature, Executive, Judiciary

Mary, not quite so contrary,
Mary’s also Marilyn
Behind which lies the Norma that’s
The carpenter’s square
The tool used by the tekton
The gnomon
The one who knows
The way to find what’s right
The light in the night
Oh Mary
Are you listening at all?

Ave Maria
When I see ya
Standing someplace
On a serpent’s face
I think about the norm, the order
Mary, the Moirae, Fortuna, the Fates
The Moirae, the mores, the pastorate
The snake you mistake
For evil’s the same one
Who led us from Egypt
And freed us from Eden
The irony shouldn’t elude anyone
The creature you’re crushing
Is your own son
Not in his role as the staff-wielding herder
But as the physician
Whose symbol’s the serpent
Not as the shepherd
Of work and disease
But as the physician, who frees
And brings ease

Elliot Sperber is a writer, attorney, and adjunct professor. He lives in New York City and can be reached at and on twitter @elliot_sperber