In Ecstasy

By Erin Belieu b. 1965 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?

Erin Belieu, “In Ecstasy” from Black Box. Copyright © 2006 by Erin Belieu. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Black Box (Copper Canyon Press, 2006)

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Poet Erin Belieu b. 1965

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Religion, Christianity, God & the Divine, The Spiritual, Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Erin  Belieu


Born in Nebraska, Erin Belieu earned an MA from Boston University and an MFA from Ohio State University. Belieu’s work focuses on gender, love, and history, filtering wide-ranging subject matter through a variety of theoretical frameworks. She often addresses feminist issues and uses poetic conventions and street talk. Belieu is the author of four books of poetry: Infanta (1995), selected by Hayden Carruth for the National . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Christianity, God & the Divine, The Spiritual, Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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