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Posts Tagged ‘The November Angels’

Poems for November 2008

Posted by mcdoc on December 28, 2008

Paul Zimmer (1934- )

The Tenth Circle

“More than three (3) health emergency calls in one month from apartment to switchboard shall be conclusive evidence to landlord that occupant is not capable of independent living. Landlord can then have tennant moved to such health care facility as is available.”

Dear Dad,

Do not fall for the third time,
Or if you do, tell no one.
Hunch over your agony and
Make it your ultimate secret.
You have done this before.
Shrug, tell a joke, go on.
If an ambulance slips up
Quietly to the back door
Do not get on. They mean to
Take you to the tenth circle
Where everyone is turned in
One direction, piled like cordwood
Inside the cranium of Satan
So that only the light of
Television shines in their eyes.
Dad, call if you need help,
But do not let them take you
Easily to this place where
They keep the motor idling
On the long, black car, where if
Someone cries out in the night
Only the janitor comes.

Jane Hirshfield (1953- )

The November Angels

Late dazzle
of yellow
the simplified woods,
spare chipping away
of the afternoon-stone
by a small brown finch—
there is little
for them to do,
and so their gossip is
idle, modest:

the Earth-pelt
dapples and flows
with slow bees
that spin
the thick, deep jute
of the gold time’s going,
the pollen’s
traceless retreat;
enter their kingdom,
their blue crowns on fire,
and feast on
the still-wealthy world.

A single, cold blossom
tumbles, fledged
from the sky’s white branch.
And the angels
look on,
observing what falls:
all of it falls.

Their hands hold
no blessings,
no word
for those who walk
in the tall black pines,
who do not
feel themselves falling—
the ones who believe
the loved companion
will hold them forever,
the ones who cross through
alone and ask for no sign.

The afternoon
lengthens, steepens,
flares out—
no matter for them.
It is assenting
that makes them angels,
neither increased
nor decreased
by the clamorous heart:
their only work
to shine back,
however the passing brightness
hurts their eyes.

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