Juditha Triumphans

By Mike Laganella

An Ekphrasis of Botticelli’s Return of Judith to Bethulia 
“Return of Judith to Bethulia” by Sandro Botticelli, 1470

Look in her eyes
Her head demurely hung,
As if to say,
When it’s time,
I’ll look in yours.

I see her pale, dead face
Turn the other way
From her sauntering gait.

Maybe in the corner of her eye,
She sees her trusty maid,
Whose skin contrasting
Is bathed in rose.
It’s she who holds
The burden of her lady’s deeds,
Which gently bleeds
Upon her virgin scarf.

Forever behind,
Until the moment that they meet.
And though determination holds her face,
Her eyes are yawning,
She keeps apace,
She knows she must go on,
Though, she is so over-worn.

And Judith bares a branch in her left,
And in her right,
That sword is gently poised,
Parallel to her steps,
Uttering some vague, upcoming threat.

And Judith’s face displeased in victory,
The maid’s resolved, running behind,
Her eyes affixed upon
The melancholic march of her mistress home,
Always triumphant, but always to roam.