"The long wait for the angel" is the English translation of the title of this novel. A novel my wife praised to me probably more than any other. What is interesting is that "The long wait for the angel" is not really the translation of the title since it is the translation in Italian of a line from a 1956 Sylvia Plath's poem which I have just found. I felt it so close to me when I read it that I received that jolt any reader of poetry I think knows well when each line he or she has just taken in is on target. This is probably the best poem I have ever read on miracles and on the wait for them.
|Black Rook in Rainy Weather|
by Sylvia Plath
On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident
To set the sight on fire
In my eye, not seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.
Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Out of the kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then ---
Thus hallowing an interval
By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love. At any rate, I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); sceptical,
Yet politic; ignorant
Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant
A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content
Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's begun again,
The long wait for the angel.
For that rare, random descent.