Editor’s note: We are publishing four paintings by Silvia Dimitrova and four poems by Bishop Graham Kings expounding the paintings. These paintings form part of a series of seven portraying women in the Bible, which Silvia and Graham are working on over 20 years.

Silvia Dimitrova is a Bulgarian icon writer based in Bath, England.

The four paintings and poems in the series so far are “Magdalene” (2003) in the garden with the risen Jesus (published yesterday); “Lydia” (2009) at Philippi with Paul; “Priscilla” (2013) at Ephesus with Aquila; and “Sarah” (2015) with Abraham at Mamre.

In the next few years, the remaining three to be completed are “Miriam” (with Moses), “Ruth” (with Boaz) and “Esther” (with Mordecai).


Sarah

Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
to the quarry from which you were dug. (Isa. 51:1)

Who is this woman?
Eyes uplifted,
Elderly, beautiful,
Pondering, anxious,
Right hand responsive,
Stopping laughing,
Brow furrowed,
Fingers knobbly,
Left hand supportive,
Relaxed, accepting.

Who is this man?
Eyebrows surprised,
Mature, elegant,
Wondering, welcoming,
Left hand cupped
Near to heart,
Beckoning hearth,
Reckoned as righteous,
Right hand blessing,
Thickening calf.

Who are these visitors?
Arrayed in radiance,
Mysterious in difference,
Framed by bowing
Oaks of Mamre and
Tent of Meeting,
Together as three,
Emerging out of
Scintillating leaves
Merging as One.

Mother of Promise
Of people and nations,
Forever empty,
Who ceased to be
After manner of women,
Laughs to herself,
Then covers it up,
Eventually conceives,
Bears and believes
‘He who laughs.’

Father of Promise
Of people and nations,
As good as dead,
Who previously laughed,
Suggesting a son of
Slave girl instead,
Now furnishes
Nourishing relief,
Hope against hope,
Sealing belief.

Lord of Promise
Of people and nations,
Proclaiming astonishing
Fertility, fecundity,
Wonderfully righting
Wrongful response:
For incoherent jest,
Co-inherence sows.
From mature oaks,
An acorn grows.

Look to Abraham your father,
and to Sarah who bore you. (Isa. 51:1)

February 15, 2016, St Cuthman’s, Coolham. On a painting by Silvia Dimitrova and Genesis 18

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