The Annunciation, John William Waterhouse, 1914
Annunciation (excerpt) – Denise Levertov
She had been a child who played, ate, slept like any other child – but unlike others, wept only for pity, laughed in joy not triumph. Compassion and intelligence fused in her, indivisible.
Called to a destiny more momentous than any in all of Time, she did not quail,
a simple, ‘How can this be?’ and gravely, courteously, took to heart the angel’s reply, perceiving instantly the astounding ministry she was offered:
to bear in her womb Infinite weight and lightness; to carry in hidden, finite inwardness, nine months of Eternity; to contain in slender vase of being, the sum of power – in narrow flesh, the sum of light.
Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child needing, like any other, milk and love –
but who was God.