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Salve Regina


If there were angels, they would sound this way,

climbing by half-tones, smoke of sacrifice

soaring by imperceptible degrees, like day

lifting itself clear into paradise.

Angels would rise from such a nearly-still

pool of unlabored music, through blue air;

not even wings to beat, or weight of will

anchoring them to earth, or death to bear.


But these are men and women singing, feet

blood-heavy on this unforgiving ground

untouched by angels.  If any song is sweet

they sweeten it, inventing the unfound

serenity of heaven, to rejoice,

shaming God to compassion with one voice.


Rhina P. Espaillat



From Landscapes with Women: Four American Poets,
Singular Speech Press, 1999.  Reprinted by permission
of the author.

Country Clipart by Lisa

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