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Join Date: 31 Oct 2003
Location: Dublin, Ireland
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Bean Feasa 

Wow Punchinella, you surely picked a powerful card to kick off these discussions!!! And a difficult, deep-end one - I think I would have run from this one, but the insights and detail in your post and everyone else's posts in this thread made me stop and look closer, and it's been well worth it - many thanks to all of you.
The card makes me shiver - the greyness of this slice of life, the unrelenting weather. It alarms me the way the baby lolls away from the woman - you would think the natural reaction in such adversity and cold would be for the woman to hold the child close and transmit whatever warmth she has left to it. Has this woman suffered so much that she's gone beyond the norms of human behaviour? I think of single mothers in past times, how they were made to suffer shame, and often poverty, simply for bringing a child into the world!
There's a look of sacrifice to this tableau - woman's posture seems to say to the cold heavens - that's it I can't handle it anymore, here we are, do your worst, go on, strike us down. She's surrendered completely to suffering; she's hitting rock-bottom. She's in a different world to the calm artistry of the cathedral behind her. She's learning to pray from the very depths of her being. Maybe this is where she's meant to be - a place of instability and learning, a place from which the only way is up. Let's hope her prayer is so pure it cannot but be heard.
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