Sunday Poem

Where Is the Angel? by Denise Levertov

Where is the angel for me to wrestle?
No driving snow in the glass bubble,
but mild September.

Outside, the stark shadows
menace, and fling their huge arms about
unheard. I breathe

a lepid air, the blur
of asters, of brown fern and gold-dust
seems to murmur,

and that’s what I hear, only that.
Such clear walls of curved glass:
I see the violent gesticulations

and feel – no, not nothing. But in this
gentle haze, nothing commensurate.
It is pleasant in here. History

mouths, volume turned off. A band of iron
like they put round a split tree,
circles my heart, In here

it is pleasant, but when I open
my mouth to speak, I too
am soundless. Where is the angel

to wrestle with me and wound
not my thigh but my throat,
so curses and blessings flow storming out

and the glass shatters, and the iron sunders?

from Essential Pleasures ed. by Robert Pinsky


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