The angel slid down greasy palms from heaven,
was flicked like water from the fingers of a thief,
fell unexpectedly into the Master’s ears, and
rolled and roped upon the tongue of a liar and a cheat,
not even asking to be believed. But if you’ve never
spoken to an angel, you cannot understand.
That is how it is with skryers and with shallow wells
in dank and muddy ground, with brazen heads
on pots of boiling weeds, and with wild-haired prophets,
ox yokes swinging ‘round their necks, running
headlong down the road away from God into
the mouths of fish and caves and fiery furnaces.
So too the master learned to make his holy magic,
stone and seal, from ragged books scratched out by
beardless boys and foolish old men who sought treasure,
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