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On Angels

On Angels

All was taken away from you: white dresses,
wings, even existence.
Yet I believe in you,

There, where the world is turned inside out,
a heavy fabric embroidered with stars and beasts,
you stroll, inspecting the trustworthy seams.

Short is your stay here:
now and then at a matinal hour, if the sky is clear,
in a melody repeated by a bird,
or in the smell of apples at close of day
when the light makes the orchards magic.

They say somebody has invented you
but to me this does not sound convincing
for the humans invented themselves as well.

The voice — no doubt it is a valid proof,
as it can belong only to radiant creatures,
weightless and winged (after all, why not?),
girdled with the lightening.

I have heard that voice many a time when asleep
and, what is strange, I understood more or less
an order or an appeal in an unearthly tongue:

day draw near
another one
do what you can.

© ~ Czeslaw Milosz


Photo (Vienna, Austria) © Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts

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3 Responses


    Sister Katharine Anne told us Father would be passing through the playground, carrying Holy Viaticum – grace and abundance – to the sick and dying of the parish.

    He was an Angel of Mercy and we were not to distract him by crowding around asking for blessings, or tugging at his sleeves. If anything we were to kneel, or simply bow our heads, in silence in silence, and if he noticed he’d bless us as he passed.

    He did come by: black shoes on snow and asphalt, topcoat black and black fedora, purple stole fringed in gold.

    Our Father, a shadow shadowed against red brick school, passed gun metal slides and chain link fence, carrying God in gold and leather, hidden in a pocket.

    Angel of Mercy, why didn’t he fly to the sick and weeping in their rooms and parlors?

    Bless me father, I prayed. Notice me angel, I prayed. In silence in silence.

    I stole a look.

    He smiled.