ANGELS ON EARTH
Midnight—and an angel dark descends in
answer to a cry. The sighing earth begs
in supplication to the sky; and dregs
of broken men break the knee and bow. Sin
to mortal earth: this genuflection to
a pair of gaudy, tattered wings, tainted by spots
of blood turned blue in the silent black.
Do you see the angel’s soul? It dies and rots,
shrivelled by unwelcome soil steeped in brute
and blood and mire. Yet still men beg, and still
men break the knee.
Your angels cannot kill
the pain of dwelling on this earth, nor mute
the quiet voice that whispers death. All they
do is fly and smile and point—and only point—
beyond the silence of the clouds.
their feet with tears, then, if you must; and say
your endless prayers, and wish, and hope. But earth
remains indifferent to your breath; it turns
away from angels, gods, and men. The birth
of life begets the birth of death, and burns
to ash the angel’s soul, and flames the blade
that lights the way beyond the garden shade.