Annunciation by Fra Anglico, Museo del Prado, Madrid


Was she calm when the messenger appeared?
And did he arrive in a whispering breeze
or in a sudden roar as of flame?
Reassuring her there was nothing to be feared.

In Blessed Angelico’s painting she bows
her head calmly enough, arms crossed meekly
on her breast. But, look more closely at her face
Her eyes troubled, her lips parted– no rest
for her as she hears his greeting: Full of Grace.

Calm as the sea seems calm
when the wind has ceased
But who knows what terror looms
in the fathomless deeps.

Calm as the night is calm
Before a birth. Before the cries
crack the night’s serenity.
The silence full of anticipation’s agony.

No, for calm, look to the angel who leans
forward to deliver the eager word
willing her to believe. Waiting for the yes
which will remake the world.

Feast of the Annunciation


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