Saturday, May 17, 2014

The painted angel


t h e  p a i n t e d  a n g e l

                                       with his heavy wings
paced along the footworn ancient flags
of the deep cathedral nave before the quiet

congregation, awaiting three Marys,
ready to proclaim the great and terrible emptiness
of God's tomb: Non est hic; surrexit,

sicut praedixerat!
So that a friar
preaching to a dubious crowd, at length
advised them: "If you believe not me, go

to Coventry, where you may see it acted
every year." Faith enacted may
be faith, or it may not be faith, and yet

thousands were thrilled to hear the angel cry,
and homeward bent their weary peasant backs,
some with missing limbs or eyes, and some

all poxed, yet talking as they went, of God,
and of brightness all around, one night,
that vexed those frightened shepherds long ago.


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