Ekphrasis, Pain, Poetry

ImPerfect Love | The Tears of St. Peter by El Greco | Ekphrasis Series

This poem marks the beginning of a new series of poetry in my blog. In the Ekphrasis series, I compose poems on my favorite art works. These may include Indian, religious, Impressionist and classical themes.

The word ekphrasis, or ecphrasis, comes from the Greek for the written description of a work of art. It is a vivid, often dramatic, verbal description of a visual work of art, either real or imagined. – Wikipedia

Here, I choose a very vivid painting by the Greek painter El Greco and try to capture the sentiments of one of his famous paintings which goes by the name of Saint Peter in Tears. This painting perfectly captures the few moments after Saint Peter’s betrayal of Christ.

If there is any painting that you would like me to write about, I am open to your suggestions. Thanks!

El Greco, Saint Peter in Tears, 1587โ€“1596, El Greco Museum in Toledo, Spain
When you kill the very thing you love,
   Heavy is the price you have to pay -
Endless heartaches, sleepless nights,
    No words to utter when you pray. 

A tired shadow on uneven grounds,
    Two tearful eyes looking up above,
A silhouette mumbling in the dark,
    "Why did I kill the one I love?"

How pitiful and fragile is human love, 
     Why did his love succumb to fear? 
The one he loved spoke once of thus -
     A corrupt love and heart insincere.

When those tired eyes pierced his soul
    Broke his ribs and ripped his heart,
The cock cried thrice, words rang true,
    The love he vowed was torn apart.
He loved him on fair weathered days -
    Oblivious to his treacherous fate,
In remorseful tears, filled with hate -
   What shall he say at heaven's gate?

Harrowing lines etched on his face -
    Of torturous pain, there is no end -
It was no stranger, no priest or king - 
   He had lost his one and only friend.

In shame and shadow, an endless wait,
    Though the sun rises, there is no day.
Plunged in darkness, the earth shakes -
   In violent fervor, the dogwoods sway. 

Is there any redemption along his way -
    For the innocent soul that he has slain?
Should he tie the noose around his neck?
   Or bury the past and rise up again?

Was this the end, had darkness won?
   No going back, the deed was far done.
He had denied knowing God's only son.
   How could he lead as the chosen one?

Trusted with keys to the kingdom above,
    A symbol of hope, mercy and love -
 Love that's broken, faltering, yet true;
    Does God call sinners to a life anew?

ยฉ Copyright: Leah Chrestien. April 2022.  The post ImPerfect Love | The Tears of St. Peter by El Greco | Ekphrasis Series first appeared on The Ecstatic Storyteller. The author reserves the right to the content. No reproduction of content in any form is permitted without the prior consent of the author.

12 thoughts on “ImPerfect Love | The Tears of St. Peter by El Greco | Ekphrasis Series”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s