It’s not really an angel but a voice,
Less heard than sensed, an urgent undertone
That murmurs in the place where I’m alone
And all my fears with longing there alloys.
It whispers that I have to make a choice:
To let the world go scrambling on its own
Or bring the spirit into flesh and bone
And give all flesh a reason to rejoice.
And yes, that choice was made some time ago,
Yet still is made more often than I know.
And every time all history starts anew
All grace, all mercy, and I’m new ensouled
By mystery sweet: the mystery ever true
That somewhere in me lives my own “Behold…”



Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them Agape Review, America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review, U.S. Catholic, Grand Little Things, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.

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2 Responses

  1. Margaret Coats

    The poem in some ways speaks for anyone who makes the choice for God over the world. But careful reading shows that the speaker is Mary every line of the way, down to her own “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” This meditation on the Annunciation, in a very well done sonnet of typical French rhyme scheme, enables us to draw closer to our Blessed Mother who still leads us. Let me say I also like your recent poem “Fasting” at the Catholic Poetry Room.

  2. jd

    Thank you, Jeffrey, for a lovely poem reflecting
    on our Blessed Mother’s encounter with the Angel

    Now I’m off to find your poem on fasting.


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