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Robert Gibb: Angels in Homestead

c. 1960
 
 
1. Homestead Cemetery
 
Pale, sentinel, their stone wings 
Open behind them, they stood about 
As though the afterlife meant 
 
To impress itself upon us 
More forcefully than the graves 
Could by themselves, angels 
 
The companions like in the garden, 
Silent granite witnesses 
Terraced among the darkness
 
Of the pines, their rain-stained faces 
Miming sorrow, gowned bodies 
Now grounded in time.
 
 
2. The Argument Concerning Faith
 
A bronze archangel and the dragon 
He’d pinned underfoot, writhing 
On top of their tombstone, 
 
Michael another Lancelot, wielding 
His sword like in the movies. 
That fight always delighted us,
 
Days we romped among the graves. 
To be buried beneath a scene 
Straight out of Revelation—
 
Talk about Coming Attractions! 
The faith they’d cast in metal 
We recast as make-believe. 
 
 
3. Hierophantic 
 
Nine Choirs of Angels. A number 
That matched the planets. 
Spirits and fiery messengers.
 
Heavenly hosts. The garden-variety 
Cherubim. And everywhere,
Apparently, though no one 
 
Could see them, the Guardian 
Charged with bearing us up. 
Powers, Dominions, Seraphim . . .
 
We always wondered which
Were which, columned above us 
In their cold stone robes.
 
 
 

Copyright 2020 Robert Gibb

Robert Gibb was born in the steel town of Homestead, Pennsylvania. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, including The Origins of Evening, which was a National Poetry Series winner. He has received numerous awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts grants, seven Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants, a Best American Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and The Ernest Sandeen Prize for Among Ruins (Notre Dame, 2017). He lives on New Homestead Hill above the Monongahela River.

Angel, Homestead Cemetery

One comment on “Robert Gibb: Angels in Homestead

  1. jfrobb
    December 10, 2020

    I’ve always been drawn to old cemeteries. This piece carries some of the ‘whys’ I do that. It is like I am there. Thank you for this beautiful piece.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 6, 2020 by in Art and Cinema, Poetry, spirituality and tagged , .

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