Scattered Thundershowers this Afternoon

Robert MacArthur

The forecast didn’t call for principalities and powers.
In toppling heaps of alabaster balanced overhead
They hung, silently swelling, for apprehensive hours,
Filled full with holy water and rejuvenating dread.
Somebody called down judgment on the living and the dead
In faceless white serenity, the lurid hues washed out
Below, ice-prism halos above each thunderhead.
Let us set up a candlemas for when the power goes out.

The chill cherubic captain stands horizonward in thought.
His helm has pierced the stratosphere. His robes cascading flow
From titanic stature, of mist and waterfall’s spray wrought,
Down, down like cold wet cloth upon the fevered land below.
He billows and he bellows, forth he raises his hand, slow
As avalanches. And his wings unfurl. Upon our drought,
From them will drip deep dew, by golden sunlight set aglow.
Let us set up a candlemas for when the power goes out.

I hope for silver seraphim of welterwind and shade.
I pray marble colossuses drift ponderous overhead.
I call their thunderous footstep to hasten ere I fade.
Each helpless life with hateful heat the afternoon has bled—
Each breath out of my body with humidity like lead—
Sweep out this swamp of haze! O come O come oh waterspout:
My sullen sweat is hunger, your coolness clean is bread.
Let us set up a candlemas for when the power goes out.

Prince, the air conditioning will never save your soul.
The summer overpowers it, and smothers it in doubt.
But wrath and rapture from the sky are coming to console:
Let us set up a candlemas for when the power goes out.

Robert MacArthur studies philosophy in the graduate program at Catholic University.