Nativity in Tahiti: Paul Gauguin

by Jerry Ratch


The young girl has given up, and lies sprawled out

upon the yellow cover on the bed, with her blue sarong

wrapped loosely around her body. One arm lay

back up above her head, where it was thrown

during the exertion of birth. Her yellow halo

surrounding her head, while she lies sleeping

with her hair still damp, curling over her ear.

Her upper lip blue, and the other hand lying limp

over her breast.


Her legs are still parted slightly.

The cat lies near her feet as if in vigil,

looking away. One of the cows in the manger

looks over toward the bride, while chewing on a mouthful

of hay.


And a wet nurse holds the child,

with its green luminescent halo, as she stares

past the carved totemic pole, rising behind

the new mother's head, into the deep blue

and dark green Tahitian night.