Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Saying the Angelus While Driving in the City by Night

The angel declared in the silence
    On the world's stony face,
The buildings were silent and listened,
    All hail, full of grace.

The travellers paused in the highways
    When her answer was heard:
Tell Him His handmaid's desire
    Is one with thy word.

And the Word became flesh
    In a world full of stone
And dwelt among us
    Who had been so alone,

And now these are living stones and streetlights
    The roads are exchanged
For rivers of light, full of blessing,
    The world has been changed.

It may be the world's stony spirit
    Will be flesh again.
Thy grace for the cross and the glory
    Pour forth, we beseech Thee. Amen.


Ibid said...

Finally, something original.

That was beautiful. Good job.

WIRTE MORE POEMS!!!!!!! You have a great talent.

and then Submit them to the Stream

Anonymous said...


Rich, suggestive...

And there are great puns here, or perhaps I mean deeper hints -
did He not tell us He is
HO HODON and HO PHOS (don't know if I have the right article, sorry!)

And the picture is great, too - did you ever drive at night on a busy two-way road and suddenly see a hint of the Divine Mercy with the river of white and the river of red?

Yes, PLEASE write more, and post them!

--Dr. Thursday

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention the notable chord you build on "stone" - I think it is Isaiah (or maybe Ezechiel?) "I will take your stony hearts away and give you living hearts" and also "if I told these to be silent the VERY STONES would cry out!"...

very good, wonderful - yes, a modern Psalm...

--Dr. Thursday

Sheila said...

It's all intentional ... really ... Well, almost. The stone-to-heart thing was, at least, and a lot else (though not the Divine Mercy--that's neat). My mom likes to go on about Incarnational theology, and I also like to think of Chesterton and the poetry of trains. Can we really say, in an A.D. world, that anything is unpoetic?

I have a special fondness for night highways, though: when I was four we lived in an apartment with a view of I-405. It was bland in the daytime, but at night we used to gather at the window and wonder which pair of lights was my dad's car. It sort of settled into my heart somehow.

I really did compose this, at least the first draft, while driving home from a late night babysitting job. I was trying to say my prayers and suddenly was struck with how alive the city can be. Sometimes it frightens me, but this time it seemed almost to speak -- "the very stones cried out." And if these are living stones, why not the streetlights?

I originally had something about the streetlights being guiding lights, but it didn't fit. The point remains, though, that even the most lifeless of modern constructions have a new kind of life now that the Word is made flesh. All matter is raised to a new height since God has taken it upon Himself.

I don't know how likely it is that I'll write more poetry soon. I find it very troublesome: it occurs to me rarely, and when it does, either the subject is too personal to let anyone read, or the poem won't let itself be jammed into the form I want it in. It is to no avail to talk about free verse. I know what it's supposed to sound like and won't let it sound any other way.