ANGELS AND OTHER STRANGERS
Angels are too good to be true, the devil has all the best tunes, although you are more likely to meet a stranger than an angel.
Someone spoke of divine interventions, of redemption, but we are beyond saving. These days there are not many stories left that I have confidence in.
I can tell I am not greatly interested any more, may be speaking just so I can speak: phonetics meet semantics.
Open your mouth and words come out.
THE MOST VISIBLE WOMAN IN HISTORY
Models of appropriate female behaviour, doomed to fall short of their goals, madonnas are often glitzed up and a bit sexy, but all have human needs and wants.
Focus on sensuality and postponing parenthood, excluding women from the inevitable phenomena of nature, in order to represent the variety of ways women live today, confronting the conflicting roles they are expected to play.
Mary’s living in a bunk house in the woods, open to the elements, hung with flowers and lights. She’s a good girl, puts her shoes in the corner, prays each night, is not surprised when an angel wrapped in a red blanket leans through the window and offers her a lily. Light streams around, from and through him. She is suddenly scared and shy, knows summer is at an end. She kneels beside her bed and tries out the words ‘mother, ‘god’ and ‘son’. Feels the small, square rug beneath her knees, then packs her things and goes to look for Joseph. He’ll know what to do.
‘My icon status is that of the mother. Artemis and many others precede me,
no doubt back to the stone age. The difference with me is passivity and sorrow.’
– Mary the Mother of God, Art Review
The art critic invents a voice for Mary the Mother of God and interrogates her about contemporary art and her role in the grand scheme of things. A friend of mine is more concerned that the why is missing, that the annunciation is simply a given and that our protagonist is caught up in something there is no reason for.
Perhaps she doesn’t know either, but doubt, confusion, incredulity are not enough. What is God’s motive? Does he have a convincing rationale? Do the angels never question? Perhaps asking questions of ourselves is enough?
Do not forget that these are poems about paintings, not a philosophical or theological debate.
‘Even on impossible journeys, we are not alone.’
– David Rothenberg, Sudden Music
The angels are leaving, taking a boat across the water, perhaps to find a country where people still believe.
One has already lost his wings, because they said he was an impossible idea, a religious metaphor for messages from heaven.
Neither angels nor heaven exist, of course. Watch the empty boat drift away from shore.
© Rupert M Loydell 2018
Rupert Loydell is a writer, editor and abstract artist. His many books of poetry include Dear Mary (Shearsman, 2017) and The Return of the Man Who Has Everything (Shearsman 2015); and he has edited anthologies such as Yesterday’s Music Today (co-edited with Mike Ferguson, Knives Forks and Spoons Press 2014), and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: manifestos and unmanifestos (Salt, 2010).