16 April 2012

early guesses at the names of things

A woman playing the part of an angel takes part in a dress rehearsal for a theatre piece of a rooftop in Berlin on November 4, 2009. (MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images) #

Welcoming Angels

Between the last war
and the next one,
waiting for the northbound train
that travels by the river,
I sit alone in the middle of the night
and welcome angels.
Welcome back old hymns, old songs,
all the music, the rhyme and rhythm,
welcome angels, archangels,
welcome early guesses
at the names of things,
welcome wings.

I have grown tired of disbelief.
What once was brave is boring.
Welcome back to my embrace stranger,
visitor beside the Jabbok.
Welcome wrestling until dawn,
until it is my hip thrown out of joint,
my pillow stone, my ladder
of antique assumptions.
Welcome what is not my own:
glory on the top rung, coming down.

"Welcoming Angels" by Pat Schneider from Another River: New and Selected Poems. © Amherst Writers and Artists Press, 2005.

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