Wake, Mary Print
By W. H. Auden   
Thursday, 23 December 2010

               
                      THE ANGEL GABRIEL
Wake.

                                III 
                          
                            GABRIEL
Mary, in a dream of love
Playing as all children play,
For unsuspecting children may
Express in comic make—believe
The wish that later they will know
Is tragic and impossible;
Hear, child, what I am sent to tell:
Love wills your dream to happen, so
Love’s will on earth may be, through you,
No longer a pretend but true.
 
                          MARY
What dancing joy would whirl
My ignorance away?
Light blazes out of the stone,
The taciturn water
Bursts into music, and warm wings throb within
the motionless rose:
What sudden rush of Power
Commands me to command?
 
                        GABRIEL
When Eve, in love with her own will,
Denied the will of Love and fell,
She turned the flesh Love knew so well
To knowledge of her love until
Both love and knowledge were of sin:
What her negation wounded, may
Your affirmation heal to-day;
Love’s will requires your own, that in
The flesh whose love you do not know,
Love’s knowledge into flesh may grow.
Wake.
 
                      MARY
My flesh in terror and fire
Rejoices that the Word
Who utters the world out of nothing,
As a pledge of His word to love her
Against her will, and to turn
Her desperate longing to love,
Should ask to wear me,
From now to their wedding day,
For an engagement ring.
 
                     GABRIEL
Since Adam, being free to choose,
Chose to imagine he was free
To choose his own necessity,
Lost in his freedom, Man pursues
The shadow of his images:
Today the Unknown seeks the known;
What I am willed to ask, your own
Will has to answer; child, it lies
Within your power of choosing to
Conceive the Child who chooses you. 
 

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