Monday, December 14, 2015

Poetry Monday: the Angel Gabriel in Miami

Yesterday we went caroling.  Today I scrolled through old blog posts as I tried to remember why we didn't go caroling last year--I think we had visiting family to get to the port.

Yesterday as we caroled, I remembered why I don't always go caroling.  It's not like the caroling of my youth, where our Girl Scout troop would go to a nursing home and sing in the main room or go from room to room.  We go to houses of shut ins and yesterday, we made a stop at the ICU too.

In short, we spend more time in the car than we do singing.  I want to believe it brings joy to those we visit.  I  do know that the carolers are having a good time.

As I scrolled through posts from last December, I realized that it was precisely a year ago that I started working on my angel Gabriel in Miami poem.  I suspect that in December, I just had the idea.  It wasn't until later, in January, that I would write the poem. 

I described I the process n this blog post.  In short, I saw this picture on Beth's Facebook update:

and on the same day, I saw this picture in a different Facebook post

and a poem began to emerge.

It wasn't until I revised the poem in June and returned to the original January post about the poem that I ended it in a satisfying way.  I originally had the angel Gabriel finding Mary in that real estate office.

Here is the complete poem, which seems perfect for this third week of Advent:

A Girl More Worthy

The angel Gabriel rolls his eyes
at his latest assignment:
a virgin in Miami?
Can such a creature exist?

He goes to the beaches, the design
districts, the glittering buildings
at every boundary.
Just to cover all bases, he checks
the churches but finds no
vessels for the holy inside.

He thinks he’s found her in the developer’s
office, when she offers him coffee, a kind
smile, and a square of cake. But then she instructs
him in how to trick the regulatory
authorities, how to make his income and assets
seem bigger so that he can qualify
for a huge mortgage that he can never repay.

On his way out of town, he thinks he spies
John the Baptist under the Interstate
flyway that takes tourists
to the shore. But so many mutter
about broods of vipers and lost
generations that it’s hard to tell
the prophet from the grump,
the lunatic from the T.V. commentator.

Finally, at the commuter college,
that cradle of the community,
he finds her. He no longer hails
moderns with the standard angel
greetings. Unlike the ancients,
they are not afraid, or perhaps, their fears
are just so different now.

The angel Gabriel says a silent benediction
and then outlines God’s plan.
Mary wonders why Gabriel didn’t go
to Harvard where he might find
a girl more worthy. What has she done
to find God’s favor?

She has submitted
to many a will greater than her own.
Despite a lifetime’s experience
of closed doors and the word no,
she says yes.

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