“Phenomenon of San Juan de Ortega”

The occupants of the royal carriage
And its entourage
Traveled the twisted trails
Of the Montes de Oca
Wound through
Bandit-infested forests
And finally descended
Onto the flatlands
Of the Meseta
Where Jeronymite monks
Awaited them
At the church and monastery
Of San Juan de Ortega.

Grateful for her safe journey
The Spanish queen
Isabel la Catolica
Sent a prayer of thanks
To God
And one of supplication
To San Juan de Ortega
The patron saint
Of children and barren mothers
To whom she prayed
For a child of her own.

Devout and virtuous
The short, stocky queen
With reddish-golden hair
Entered the church
And knelt
By the alabaster tomb
With the recumbent figure
Of the saint
Which rested
Under a carved lacy canopy.

A sweet smell emanated
From the tomb
Which when opened
Some years earlier
Had released
Swarms of white bees
Said to be the souls
Of unborn children
In search of barren mothers
Eager to bear
Love
And nurture them.

As the queen said her devotionals
In the twilight of evening
A narrow shaft of light
Entered the church
And fell directly
On the figure
Of Mary
Which was carved
On a high column
And brought with it
The promise
Of a son for Isabel.

(Inspired by “Devotion”, Lillie McFerrin Five Sentence Fiction, September 26, 2012. Based on the phenomenon which occurs each vernal and autumnal equinox in the Church of San Nicolas de Bari, San Juan de Ortega, Spain.)

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This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, historical, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to “Phenomenon of San Juan de Ortega”

  1. billgncs says:

    I like how your poems stay connected from start to end. There is a richness to them.

  2. Sandra says:

    A lovely story, and beautifully told. I really enjoyed reading this.

  3. Andrew says:

    Beautiful. A lovely story told in the loveliest of ways.

  4. A picture of faith and devotion painted with beautiful words that make us feel as if perhaps we are a witness to this pilgrimage. Truly well written, a moving piece!

  5. vb holmes says:

    Thanks for the compliment–I enjoyed your sensitive piece on a man’s unduring devotion. Well done.

  6. StetotheJ says:

    Greetings, i like this, it has me in mind of the magical realism of such luminaries as Calvino, Eco and Marquez. Great stuff.

  7. I love the image of the white bees swarming from the tomb. Like the reader above me, I immediately thought of Garcia Marquez as I read this little gem of a poem.

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