Word Poetry

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Sample Poems by Angela O'Donnell


Saint Sinatra

"Saints are the most excellent of voices, the most brilliant of stars." Cardinal Avery Dulles

Croon to me, Baby,
blue-eyes smiling,

So Easy to Love
Night and Day,

skinny legs draped
in gabardine as you sway

sweet and easy, singing.
The mike your attribute,

lucky close to those lips,
In other words, baby, kiss me.

I've Got a Crush on You, Sweetie Pie,
You, Sicilian Saint of Song,

the one girls pray to when we lie
awake, pictures of boys in our heads,

each of them holy-card pretty as you
only In the Blue of Evening.

You and the Night and the Music
much more than we can stand,

we fall to our knobby knees,
genuflect to your smooth

slide down the scale of desire,
a true tune we know and can't carry.

O Hoboken Hero of Eros,
Star-eyed Stranger in the Night,

Pray for us, Sinner. Sing us alive.
Take these Valentine hearts from our hands.


St. Eve in Exile

Here amid a field of light
You say my name.

And I am not she,
the girl You called Your own.

My mouth a cavern.
My chest an empty cave.

I am dry and dusty.
I am not wet or well.

Not the riverbed of love
You shaped me to be,

wide as a delta,
deep as any mine-

ful of diamonds,
not this common coal,

my birthstone, my rock
of heavy longing.

I am black with it
where You would have me white.

Ever a disappointment,
I grew breasts

where you shaped me straight and smooth,
spoke when you asked for a song,

agreed where you hoped
I would exceed,

climb out of the hole
You dug for me,

place where You planted
me in the dark

among creatures
who never knew my name.

You cut me in two.
I take half the blame.



What the Angel Said
for Fra Angelico on seeing his Annunciation, Chiesa San Marco, Florence

He spoke to you in blue, in the long call
of light from the top of a Tuscan hill.
Your hand answered, the quick sketch of a girl
taking shape before you knew she was you,
head uplifted, her angelful eyes
sure of what they see: being bodied true
as the stilled wings, the beatified sky.
What words might have passed have passed as air
sighed by the soul in the act of rapture.
Now there is only ocher and thin-skinned cream,
struck gold against the garden's sudden green,
forever as present as it once seemed,
her hands crossed soft against her hidden fear
and angel's breath still warm within your ear.


St. Martha

"She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word." Luke 10:37
A silly child she ever always was-
our mother said so a thousand times-
her quick eye caught by the flight or buzz
of some pretty creature's mastering wings.
Lazarus tried to keep her out of sight,
to spare his clever sister women's tasks.
I hauled the water, rose before first light,
set bread upon the board before they asked.
The day You came to us our prayers were granted.
My hands obeyed the rhythms of my labor
while Mary sat beside You like a man,
embraced within the circle of Your favor.
I stood apart, Your beauty kept from me,
and only when You left us did I see.