POETRY: It Is Clear Why The Angels Come No More, by Jack Gilbert

It is clear why the angels come no more.
Standing so large in their beautiful Latin,
how could they accept being refracted
so small in another grammar, or leave
their perfect singing for this broken speech?
Why should they stumble this alien world?

Always I have envied the angels their grace.
But I left my hope of Byzantine size
and came to this awkwardness, this stupidity.
Came finally to you washing my face
as everyone laughed, and found a forest
opening as marriage ran in me. All

the leaves in the world turned a little
singing: the angels are wrong.

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