Saturday, November 26, 2011

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.

~ Jane Hirshfield
 from Of Gravity and Angels