Intangible

By Alice Stainer

Alice teaches literature and creative writing to visiting students in Oxford and believes passionately in the power of the arts. She is published in Visual Verse and on other platforms.

This poem came into being the day after one of my chamber choirs had reassembled for the first time in seven months. I was pondering the potency of communal singing as an expression of shared experience, and the joyous ability of our voices to escape the strictures of the pandemic and to come together even whilst we remained at a physical distance from one another.

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Carmine Di Biase
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Carmine Di Biase
11 months ago

Beautiful sonnet, and moving. I love the caesura and the spondees in line 9: perfectly expressive there of momentarily bated breath.

Alice Stainer
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Alice Stainer
6 months ago

Ah, thanks for reading it so sensitively. xx

John
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John
11 months ago

Yes, very good Alice. I presume the large gap is just where you hit the tab instead of the spacebar, but do say if it has significance! (Whether angels can touch and embrace, or even sing, is something I leave to the theologians.)

Alice Stainer
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Alice Stainer
6 months ago
Reply to  John

Hello John,

I’m so sorry, but I’ve only just seen your comment. Haven’t really visited since it was posted. Anyway, thanks for reading it and commenting. As a matter of fact, the large gap is intended as a space for the reader’s own personal inhalation – it takes the place of a syllable, if you count. As for angels embracing, who knows (though they can go up and down ladders) – but in this poem, they don’t anyhow. I’ve always thought that perhaps angels are what you make of them. The state of embracing is below the angels – a more tactile zone, perhaps. (Incidentally, we were singing Faire is the Heaven, which is full of all kinds of very active angel!)

Best wishes,
Alice

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