Poetry by Madeleine L’Engle

I came across this poem by Madeleine L’Engle last evening and had to read it about three times to let the beauty and depth of it soak in. In recent years, I’ve been reading a lot of her non-fiction but a few months ago I purchased The Ordering of Love, a collection of her works of poetry. Once again, I’m reminded what a remarkable woman she was.

Instruments (1)

The sky is strung with glory.
Light threads from star to star
from sun to sun
a living harp.
I rejoice, I sing, I leap upwards to play.
The music is in light.
My fingers pluck the vibrant strings;
the notes pulse, throb, in exultant harmony;
I beat my wings against the strands
that reach across the galaxies
I play


It is not I who play
it is the music
the music plays itself
is played
plays me
small part of an innumerable
I am flung from note to note
impaled on melody
my wings are caught on throbbing filaments of light
the wild cords cut my pinions
my arms are outstretched
are bound by ropes of counterpoint
I am cross-eagled on the singing that is strung
from pulsing star
to flaming sun

I burn in a blaze of song.


5 thoughts on “Poetry by Madeleine L’Engle

  1. Dianne,
    Madeline L’Engle is my favorite! Thank you for posting one of her poems – I have another one of her poems on the tip of my tongue that I will have to get to you.
    Lovely words – lovely person.

  2. Here it is – found it.

    Instruments (2)
    Hold me against the dark: I am afraid.
    Circle me with your arms. I am made
    So tiny and my atoms so unstable
    That at any moment I may explode. I am unable
    To contain myself in unity. My outlines shiver
    With the shock of living. I endeavor
    To hold the I as one only for the cloud
    Of which I am a fragment, yet to which I’m vowed
    To be responsible. Its light against my face
    Reveals the witness of the stars, each in its place
    Singing, each compassed by the rest,
    The many joined to one, the mightiest to the least.
    It is so great a thing to be an infinitesimal part
    of this immeasurable orchestra the music bursts the heart,
    And from this tiny plosion all the fragments join:
    Joy orders the disunity until the song is one.

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