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216 CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE The Madonna as a Fallible Thing Then after the wind had jockeyed the flanks of the lake and the clouds had bucked and stumbled and lifted their tails and fled, and the cloud-phlegm fell and was ignored by the bottom-skulkers and the frogs' baggy egg-slime, the eagles on their tiny island picked at their breasts and slept like a heap of stars. All morning some worried, hidden fowls had mewled over the lake. And the lake worried, the eagles battening down their nest in the crown ofthe dead tree on the marsh island. All afternoon the wind dug into the island's ribs and the marsh panted, its snarl of plants rocking and closing their eyes. Above, exposed, the eagles unwrapped their wings black with the downpour over the nest-egg, another portrait ofthe Virgin-here stooped and soiled, cloaking the child in humid, susceptible folds. K. A. HAYS ...


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