Monday, May 23, 2011

Poetry Monday

Bath Abbey

By Sarah Giragosian

Outside the birds and angels storm the walls.
Their wings appear to be still usable,
not clipped or chipped away, but heavenly
ascension is slowgoing. Angels robed
in stone and flocks of fattened pigeons climb
a Jacob’s ladder slick from rain, its rungs
arranged to meet a sky that spills over
with vaporous colors of tea and milk.

At times I hear them laughing audibly
beneath the choir vault: beggars, mostly--those
who come to dry off when the rain starts. I
have started coming--not to pray or pry
into their suffering--only to look
around. The city, populated once
by noblemen and lepers, conquerors
and socialites, was England's capital
for getaways, a pamphlet tells me. I
have milled around the shops and manors, roamed
among the tombs, my camera posed to shoot
the scale-like stonework of old cathedrals,
their rambling naves, their bodies fantastic
like chimera or dragons. I have reined
them into rolls of film, subdued their fire
into bunched curls as thin as smoke and ghosts.

Today the city's lights and luster bleed
through stained glass windows, drawing us to Gods
with crowns the shades of goldenrod and plum,
to suns offsetting the electric blues
of angel tunics. Townspeople and guides
converge with travelers and joggers; we're
all drenched and blown away by fan-
vaulted, altitudinous ceilings. We
relax, entombed within the splashy bowels
of chimera as angels rain and thrum
their fingernails against the window panes.

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