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This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

And because there are not words yet mine

ANGEL OF PRAGUE


I have joined a student theater group,
an insurrection in the motherly gray capital
battered by invasion and occupation


--exhausted somnolence, dreary romance.
In the piece we're mounting,
a demonstration in the central square,
I play the role of the Angel of Prague,


and must climb the facade of an ancient church
fronting the square, and stand behind the statue
of a female figure, a near-forgotten saint,


where I am to unfurl a pair of large fabric wings,
in my dream, my blue wing upon which is written,
IT MUST BE BEAUTIFUL, and my red wing
which reads IT MUST BE NEW.


I hold on to the waist of the statue
until I unfurl the second wing,
and then I must balance


on the narrow pedestal, or lean
against her stone back to support myself,
which is all right until I look down
the cold dizzying stories to the pavement,


and gradually find myself furling
the cloth around her stone shoulders,
my legs trembling; it's hard to hold out


your arms when you're frightened
of being dashed on the stones below,
and in a while I slink down, back into the crowd,
where I shed my huge armature


and am praised for my performance
despite the fact that I feel defeated,
that I have given in to weakness


when I could, if I were stronger and less fearful,
I could have upheld those wings.


by Mark Doty from Fire to Fire

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