Monday, October 13, 2014

Milosz Monday

The Church tells us that we are surrounded by angels; at our prayers, at the Eucharist, as we wake and as we sleep.  It is hard to believe in the angels of the liturgy and the Bible; creatures both wonderful and terrible, messengers, guardians and heralds of the Apocalypse.  Pop culture domesticates them into objects of sentiment or sells them to the credulous but spiritually inclined as a kind of personal life coach sent to show you that, in spite of all the available evidence, you really are as special as you always hoped.  I think Milosz in today's poem does a better job than TV or the New Age shelf in your local bookstore telling us where we might find angels today:


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

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 draws near
another one
do what you can.

Monday morning