for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

Angelus (for One Shot Wednesday)

How elating—
the walk by the harbor at dusk: the hour
hardly fits the feeling. Yet, day melting on
to ground and water seeps off as mist,
abstracting realities, transforming
states into half-dreams—a moment
that soon passes.

My feet cease
scissoring, a mindless technique
to cut into the half-hour—the
slice of time at which the heart is said
to pump faster, hastening
the river flow the body has entrapped—
and stilled, remember my childhood
but failing to recall

the minute-
prayer angel Gabriel’s hailing
Mary who was to have a child—a fairly
domestic scene that for ages had mystified
this hour. But brake on my steps holds me
not in prayer to dwell on such angelic
moment. I stand smiling, no less
a fool being alone, at this:

on grass patch a duck pair
bedded as a robin circles blinking disbelief ,
head turning in ways, ‘Lost, am I?’
—a look so innocent as much as
beguiling, a circlet that isolates
stark truths, blinds eyes
to mirrors: this moment
a black figure heaving on the crosswalk
hooded for heat—in the harbor
he makes like home, chills make
for walls—the freeze hangs on his
wiry moustache, a Cheshire grin to passersby
‘God bless!’ So like Gabriel
I imagine in tone yet so unlike

the angel in that his chant and greeting
fall insipid on indifference littering
the walk–I pass him by
resume my steps tight clipped
his eyes trail the dull beat my Reeboks
drum on the bridge. My heart contracts—
startled at the suddenness, the broken
rhythm signals a must

some help: the robin whisks its wings
to my eye path—in the
half-light its wing-spread so like
a minute Gabriel. Unthinking, I stop
to honor a childhood hour, and peering back
at the dark figure the seeping
night has walled in, I sigh
a prayer.

…one of my early poems written in 2008 in a series of what I called ‘journal poetry’ or journals I wrote in verse from memories of my walks at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore right across where I lived half of the year on Federal Hill. Posted here for One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry to share it with you but expecially to a community of artists and poets in this inimitable space whose love for their art ‘spangle’ (my favorite word) the skies (my favorite phrase). Come on in, check us out or better yet, join us.

March 2, 2011 - Posted by | free verse, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. i used to work off st paul street and walk the harbour every day…love the shrouded man and the robin that would be gabriel…

    Comment by brian miller | March 2, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks, Brian, for loving the figures in my poem! I have to latch on to you because we share the harbour. Every afternoon to dusk, I walked the length of it, sometimes going past the Marriott to the learning pond or stream. Every Friday, I’d walk to the Basilica of the Assumption and after holy mass, cross over to the Enoch Pratt Main Library. On my way home, I’d walk the opposite breadth crossing St. Paul. I’d written numerous lines on these spaces loving not only the pigeons that deride my steps, but also the resident ducks of the harbour, and the screaming sea gulls, my sightings of orioles and the first time I realized the difference in hue between a crow’s black sheen and a raven’s deep purple. Brian, thank you so much!!!

      Comment by alee9 | March 2, 2011 | Reply

  2. You paint a whole tale in a few images and a slice of an interior world rich with symbols and memory. I too, love the robin and the whiskered Cheshire grin as well.

    Comment by hedgewitch | March 2, 2011 | Reply

    • You read my poems with a heart that knows, Joy,! You seem to have a hold on how my spirit moves. Thank you for seeing that interior world with which I wrote this poem–who else but you could know?

      Comment by alee9 | March 2, 2011 | Reply

  3. This is so very beautiful– you take us on this walk and there apprehending beauty and danger at the same time, boundaried by the angelus– fabulous! xxxj

    Comment by jenneandrews | March 2, 2011 | Reply

    • I love how see the beautiful beyond what’s obvious, Jen! ‘Beauty and danger…’ yes, danger that my guilt is indeed ‘apprehending’ me! Your insight can only come from a poet laureate like you! Thank you hugely!

      Comment by alee9 | March 2, 2011 | Reply

  4. loved this…wish you had a tweet button..cheers pete

    Comment by pete marshall | March 2, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks, Pete. A tweet button? Is that a twitter, too?

      Comment by alee9 | March 3, 2011 | Reply

  5. You know I am not good with your long poems. I cannot stay concentrated enough. My problem, not yours. You seem to roll images out like you have a million of them. For some reason I read to see the images and where my attention stops. One of my favorite images from this is “to honor a childhood hour…”


    Comment by Sully | March 3, 2011 | Reply

    • I’m thrilled to know you try to follow my long poetry, my images (yeah, they seem to tumble off the galaxies!). And that you liked best in this poem the image that spells ‘angelus’ is an honor for me. Thanks, Sully!

      Comment by alee9 | March 3, 2011 | Reply

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