Sarah Law


Protocol for Angelic Visitations


When she comes crashing through
the glass walls of your home,
your first option is fear –

after all, you may have been reading,
writing or simply looking
at the lily in its stillness –

and now her great ruffled wings
have broken the sky
and you are vulnerable.

Turn your body to the left,
cower your hands under your chin,
fingers wilting like a failed prayer.

The second choice is bolder,
a tentative offer of friendship;
face your uninvited angel solemnly,

ignore the terrible mess she’s made
of your life, and hail her, open palmed;
a tiny smile’s permitted.

Humility’s your third choice; though
under the circumstances, far from
the worst. Kneel and fold your arms

across your chest. The angel,
still monstrously hovering there
all gold etc., should reciprocate.

Then bow your head. Your angel (who
may or may not have something to say)
will do the same. And sometimes

something good occurs at this stage,
like a word or two – or even a hug –
or a bit of light on the shards.



Three Poems for St Therese of Lisieux


Sister St. Peter

The elderly nun
shakes her hourglass –
you, there, Sister,

let’s get on with it.
Thérèse steps up,
and helps the hurting limbs

into a rhythm of sorts,
towards a refectory
forever receding.

She gets no thanks.
She is too quick, too young:
the cloister holds its breath.

Somewhere in her body
music plays; the fizz
of a waltz perhaps;

a ripple in the skin
of life beyond its walls.
The sky is inky blue.

The elderly nun
seated at last, struggles
with her cutlery,

so Thérèse slices
the bread and cheese,
and on impulse

turns her face
to Sister St Peter’s,
and leans in for a kiss.



In the photo she clutches an hourglass;
her fingers pale against the brown
of her habit; the timer’s wooden frame.
The glass curves in at the centre, flares
to a perfect rounded base; seconds
sift through its narrow waist and pool
below. Thirty minutes – then
the whole is turned, and time begins again.
And so the round of days, the watch
of self, the grace each moment can afford;
she knows herself to be a grain of sand,
small; self-spending; continually poured.


To Pick up a Pin

a glinting filament
fallen from its basket –
restored to usefulness

a mantle puddled
on the cloister floor
folded and soothed

a few pressed petals
sweetly placed; a
secretly-made card,

an hour given to thought
of how a nothingness
can fill itself with light,

and a poem pressed
into the hand, glowing
with love’s intuition.


Sarah Law lives in London, UK, and teaches for the Open University and elsewhere. Her latest collection is Ink’s Wish. Recent work has appeared in Psaltery & Lyre; Ink, Sweat & Tears; Allegro, and (forthcoming) The Windhover. She edits Amethyst Review, an online journal for new writing engaging with the sacred.