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A Plain Song For Comadre

 Though the unseen may vanish, though insight
And doubter and downcast saint
Join in the same complaint,
What holy things were ever frightened off
By a fly's buzz, or itches, or a cough?
Harder than nails

They are, more warmly constant than the sun,
At whose continual sign
The dimly prompted vine
Upbraids itself to a green excellence.
What evening, when the slow and forced expense Of sweat is done, Does not the dark come flooding the straight furrow Or filling the well-made bowl? What night will not the whole Sky with its clear studs and steady spheres Turn on a sound chimney? It is seventeen years Come tomorrow That Bruna Sandoval has kept the church Of San Ysidro, sweeping And scrubbing the aisles, keeping The candlesticks and the plaster faces bright, And seen no visions but the thing done right >From the clay porch To the white altar.
For love and in all weathers This is what she has done.
Sometimes the early sun Shines as she flings the scrubwater out, with a crash Of grimy rainbows, and the stained studs flash Like angel-feathers.

by Richard Wilbur
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