Friday, March 25, 2022

The Annunciation


Fra Angelico
Annunciation by Denise Levertov

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,

almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.

But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions
The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
God waited.

She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.


Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?
Some unwillingly
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
More often
those moments
when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.


She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child – but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed
in joy not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence
fused in her, indivisible.

Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
only asked
a simple, ‘How can this be?’
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
perceiving instantly
the astounding ministry she was offered:

to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.
Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –

but who was God.

This was the moment no one speaks of,
when she could still refuse.

A breath unbreathed,


Merton with Wendall Berry & Denise Levertov, photo probably by Gene Meatyard


  1. thankyou thankyou

    It would really be a blessing
    if it would be Announced
    the War was over in Europe
    yess yess -Who is God

    Happy blessings ---------

    1. Yes, that would be a very good Announcing.

      (I don't know Who God Is)

      thank you for blessings.

  2. thanks for the reply
    its funny -i dont ether -
    men have been fighting about God
    forever- they just dont know what
    what they are talking about
    its funny-
    How could you talk about God!

    so this-------

    mysterious mystery
    as a nut
    cracked open
    laughing ____

    Happy happy

    1. Here is a little something to chew on, bob:

      Imagine you are skydiving, jumping out of a plane, and you suddenly realize that you don't have a parachute.

      You are terrified.

      Next, imagine that you look down and there is no ground!

      Even in the midst of profound letting fo, it's an illusion that there was something to hold on to in the first place.

      It's also an illusion that we are going to crash and burn.

      Perhaps there is no ground.

  3. so far so good ------
    Happy April fools day
    Blessings --------------------


The Good Shepherd’s commitments to us

Photo (by me) from the Basilica of Sts. Cosmos and Damian, Roma HT to John Predmore SJ for the following: I would like to talk about God’s ...