photo by Irene Teesalu, Estonia

From Hebrews 13:2 —“ Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” [1]


Breathe in

Breathe out

 

Still, now

Let the angels brush you

cool clear spirits dancing

across your skin

 

Breathe in

gilding the air as they still you

—lips, tongue, throat, lungs

limbs, organs, blood-heat, pulse-beat—

 

angels in your mind

tapping your fingers

dancing in your toes

 

Breathe out

release them

let them be borne off

on airy wings.

 

Breathe in—out.

 

You are ready, now, to entertain them

strange as they seem

syntax of fire and air.

They sail towards me on the harbour

white angels

skimming dawn-gilt waves

 

As I make coffee

they float—just through the window

 

and on the weekend

as I munch my toast

they race towards the Strait

white wings unfurled

skimming the dance-floor of the up-side-down sky.

 

Bright red and buzzing

like an anxious mother

the rescue angel

rotor-blades the sky

slicing the clouds

searching…

Wellington's Westpac Rescue Helicopters - photo at picasaweb.google.com/Medic1nz

(Breathe in.  Breathe out.)

 

Do not forget them.

 

Do not forget the strangers

at your door

as you raise your glass

toast the new year

the past

the absent friends

the end of term

the auld acquaintances

—the birth of a long ago child.

 

Do not forget the strangers

in the crowd

the watchful ones

the furtive, awkward,

battered,

manic ones

in the advent of summer holidays, of

holy days

Do not forget

—as you laugh and embrace

and wish all well

and spill goodwill like crumpled wrapping paper

laugh at unfunny cracker jokes

and pull each other’s legs

as you thank the host

and season the feast with good cheer

 

that there are angels

waiting

 

answering phones, maybe

waiting to drive you home

 

offering refuge

Sometimes they come quietly

these entertaining angels

falling into your path

like stars

as the sun darkens

 

or—

 

Suddenly

with a blast of trumpets,

drumbeats, cymbals, castanets,

plucking the strings

of your heart,

harp, harpsichord, mandolin, cello

strumming and humming and

harping on

when you least expect them

 

nagging and clapping and

clicking their fingers to

snap you

awake!

 

tooting and hooting

at your complacency

 

laughing your good intentions into action

looting your heart

for the strangeness lurking there

 

teasing and taunting

turning the stranger to friend

 

ruffling your feathers, tossing you to the winds

scooping you up, stroking you

with their wings

angel's wings by redbubble

Do not forget the heavenly host

coming in clouds of glory

 

brightening the air

spilling like stars, like champagne

skimming the sea

like yachts, like kites

 

skirting the crowds

searching the season

for strangers and welcomers

 

strumming and twanging and singing

frightening sheep, stunning the shepherds

spangling the sky

 

exhorting the earth to embrace

peace and goodwill

syntax of words and flesh

 

 

Spreading their wings

forming a Cross

pointing to west and east

as they light the path

to Bethlehem

—to Jerusalem, to Galilee

 

midwifing at the birth

foreshadowing resurrection

angel cloud - photo by David Mixner

Be not forgetful of angels.

 

Strange as they seem

entertain them:

let the cool spirits dance you.

 

Do not let them take you

unaware

© Bronwyn Angela White (1999)—Wellington, New Zealand

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License



[1]  written for & performed at GalaXies Advent Service “Entertaining Angels Unaware”, St Andrew’s on the Terrace, Wellington, 5 December 1999; also read Christmas Eve 2004

angel drop by renee dawson