Under Albatross Archway

Under Albatross Archway

Under Albatross Archway stood an angel,
he listened to a river.
It was dark night, with no moon or star,
so he could not see it, only hear it,
far below his feet,
as it slowly, deeply rippled by.
Out of the shadows,
by the jewel flower light glow
of a street lamp,
he watched an old drunken man
in a long coat come shambling nigh,
who stopped when he saw him and said:
“What does it matter,
if you die sober or sodden with rum?
You know there is nothing to come.”
“Maybe in the morning things will seem different,”
answered the angel.
“Why not wait till the light of dawn?”
“There is always that, the maybe, the perhaps,”
the drunkard said.
“You never know your luck.
You never know how it will be.
Too late for philosophy.
Too late for me.
I’m going home. Everywhere is shut.
Nowhere to cadge another drink.”
“Things are earlier and later than you think,”
the angel warned him.
The drunkard trembled, walked on,
sometimes stopped to shiver.
The angel smiled, turned his head,
resumed his listen to the river.


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