09 May 2011

Max Von Sydow

stone saint
with Max’s young face
tell me his secrets

let me be a stone sparrow
chiseled into stories
of strawberries,
violins, and madness

let me knight you
and ride you through
death’s distant door
all in the palm
of your hand

Tell me
stories of Bergman
On Fårö Island
where the sea
thrashes through
 a glass darkly

and I can
believe in
God through your
so blue eyes


Thank you to Tess over at Magpie Tales for this photo prompt of Saint Francis of Assisi. 

There is a sense of familiarity that comes with some people.  Some are even famous.  I’ve always felt that familiarity with Max Von Sydow.  He is a Swedish actor who got his start in Ingmar Bergman films.  Born in 1929, Von Sydow continues to act.  Early in his career he acted in Ingmar Bergman’s 1961 film “Through a Glass Darkly.” It is the story of one family’s confrontation with schizophrenia.  In the film, Von Sydow’s wife is released from an asylum, and is far from cured.   The phrase comes from 1 Corinthians 13.  It refers to the idea that people will only clearly know God when they die, until that time they see God through a glass darkly. Bergman lived most of his life on the island of Fårö in Sweden.  He filmed Through a Glass Darkly there.  It is breathtaking. 


Anonymous said...

Ooooh....so eerie that you link the saint and THIS actor....who I will always remember as Fr.Merrin from the Exorcist. Vb

Francis Scudellari said...

There is a strong resemblance there. "Through a Glass Darkly" is an amazing film... and I like the connection you make between it and the saint.

brenda w said...

~vb, I Love Max Von Sydow. His work, his face, and his longevity continue to astound me. He is an intriguing human. He reminds me of my family. I thought about the Exorcist role, too, but it's not one of my favorites, so it slipped away. ha!

~Francis, Thank you for your comment. Hooray that you've seen the film! I just put it on my Netflix queue so I can see it again. The film will make me want to visit Faro. But it must be so different now, making Bergman's film seem even more like an imagining...


Brian Miller said...

the third stanza really jumped out at me...this was a great blend you put together of the two...very well articulated...

brenda w said...

Thank you Brian. I appreciate your visit and kind words.

Anonymous said...

I was amazed at the likeness.

I love that phrase; it is ruined in the NIV Bible.

Helen said...

You have written an incredibly lovely poem. The third stanza especially brilliant!

Olivia said...

ooooooooh that was eerie!
Very well done..

Tess Kincaid said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I can't believe this. I call this St. Francis my Max von Sydow! I have a certain affinity with him, as well. He is so sexy in Though a Glass Darkly. Don't you love him in Pelle the Conqueror?

Mama Zen said...

"let me be a stone sparrow
chiseled into stories
of strawberries,
violins, and madness"

That is so gorgeous!

Ann Grenier said...

I feel as though a reader could substitute other names for Max etc. and make your poem personally relevant without knowing a thing about Bergman or the information you give us in your footnote. There is an appealing mystery.

brenda w said...

Tess- It's funny that you call him your Max. He's a striking man, and yes, I love him in Pelle the Conqueror.

Thanks so much all of you have stopped to comment on my work. I really appreciate it.

Lena said...

Boy, there is a weird resemblance to Max here! I haven't seen TAGD for years, whereas ashamedly, I've watched The Exorcist a million times (late night channel surfing - it's never off!).

It was a lovely write connecting the two!

R. Burnett Baker said...

You've opened doors for me to explore with the stunning poem. Just an excellent and powerful piece, that snaps me back from my cynical perspective.

Thank you for visiting me, Brenda. Looking forward to reading more on your site!


Friko said...

what an intelligent post!
This is my first visit and I like what you do here.

flaubert said...

Beautiful piece of writing, Brenda. I haven't seen the movie, but I'll try and find it. My confirmation name is Frances. I chose him as my saint when I was a young girl.


phil said...

What a strawberry and milk tribute to Max.
Was mesmerized by The Seventh Seal.

Jingle said...


lucychili said...

interesting people and story

Martin H. said...

"...let me be a stone sparrow
chiseled into stories..." Excellent!

Everyday Goddess said...

very cool! written so well, and such a great connection. i love how this piece feels.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Beautifully composed!

Anna :o]

Poets United said...

The last stanza is so strong - very memorable. Also love the deep allusions. Great piece.

Steve Isaak said...

Love this - I'd noted the Max von Sydow resemblance myself, glad someone else did as well.