Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Epistemology: Angels

Archangel Gabriel at Doge's Palace




Epistemology: Angels


What do we know about angels?
We know they have wings.
They are not us but
they fly and sometimes
they fall.

They are so much
softer than clouds, 
harder than diamonds,
because they know everything,
and need to feel nothing.

Their bones are fog and lightning.Their eyes 
stare blindly. They carry the message
under their tongues of fire,
choose when, know who,
aren't saying why.

They are able to be all white,
not black not grey not devil red,
never blue nor orange,
never mixed never solid, only beings 
of air and distance.

That is what we know
about angels now.
But we don’t remember
all of angel time
when angels first saw

the daughters of men
and found them more beautiful
than god, beautiful as you, my love
with your silent tongue of fire
and pale wings.


We know
nothing 
about angels.


April 2011




Posted for OneShotWednesday  at the inimitable OneStopPoetry




Image: Archangel Gabriel at Doge's Palace, posted by  valix on flick'r
Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License 2.0
valix's photostream 

46 comments:

  1. That's so pretty.

    I have to admit I was thinking of a word close to Epistemology when I saw the title. Has nothing to do with angels. : )

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  2. Their bones are fog and lightning. Their eyes
    stare blindly. They carry the message
    under their tongues of fire,
    choose when, know who,
    aren't saying why !! So ethereal and sassy, those angels.

    The penultimate stanza is such a surprising leap. Love it.

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  3. How you wrote something like this when you have the flu is a complete mystery to me. (*sits like a mandrill, questioning, humming Fleetwood Mac songs*)

    The first lines that really jumped out at me were these:

    " they know everything,
    and need to feel nothing"

    I thought, and have often thought, must make taking the long view a lot easier than it is down here.

    You fill this with quirky arcana (the colors!) but then you switch up at the end, and oh what a poem that makes this. I like the entire thing, but the last thirteen lines take my breath away. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

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  4. Oh love photo...and the falling in love with the daughters of men....I have always love Angels ...the whole concept and need of them...believing so firmly in them from the time of childhood...winged or wingless...love your write Joy....Wonderful One Shot...bkm

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  5. Ah, der Ange, given here their proper aesthetic vatic wings. The vision of this "we" is so particular and peculiar that I'll venture that it is Hedgewitch's royal "we" -- speaking for all of us, which, by dint of her colossal verbal mojo, she as "we" has right to wield. I mean, these aren't Catholic or Rilkean or Theosophist angels: And the searing chiasmus between stanzas 4 and 5 says that H. has little use for any coloring-book adaptations of human spirit, not compared to the earthy naiads and devas and genus locii who siloed so much more rapture for our world, creatures sadly lost beneath our ever-elevating consciousness. So when H. says we know nothing of angels, I suspect H. means she has no use for them. But what do I know? Fugetabout angels; tell me more about that extra-angelic "love" in the penultimate stanza! Brew us up some citrinitis and rubedo in your Kitchen! Lend some color to those Heavenly cheeks... Brendan

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  6. Forgive me all--as Fireblossom mentioned, I'm a bit under the weather today, and after linking this in to One Stop Poetry, I plan on returning to hibernation and liquids. I will try to make the rounds tomorrow, and thanks so much for coming by, taking the time to read and leave your thoughts and impressions.

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  7. This has a great feel to it, great imagery!

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  8. Thanks, Matt. I'll make it by your place later.

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  9. Angelic truth. A love song and a vision. You are the best. Get well soon. The world is reeling. I love this.

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  10. Awww...
    Sorry you are I'll, You sickly Cherub.
    Lovely bit of writing, get well soon!

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  11. I believe that Angels exist - not that I will become one when I die but I believe in them as a separate higher species. A lot of that is quite biblical. I loved it. It is true ... Really, we know nothing about Angels compared to what they know about us.

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  12. Many lovely lines; full of your trademark lyricism and vivid imagery.

    Take care of yourself.

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  13. Incredible depiction of faith in such beautiful spirit form...we never really do know what exists beyond our own elements...you've written this wonderfully! ~April

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  14. "beings of air and distance" - "their bones are fog and lightning" - what a perfect description. I so love this beautiful poem, especially towards the end, when the angels find the daughters of men beautiful.........fantastic writing! Get well soon!!!!!

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  15. softer than clouds,
    harder than diamonds

    Beautiful work my friend...so many facets of the characteristics of angels mentioned here and so paradoxical...or are they? We know only from our limited human perspective! Good work!

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  16. even your words have an airy flow...'only beings of air and distance'...and what about existence which we cannot see with our eyes...we imagine angels so often as beautiful, perhaps they take many forms beyond the realms of our classic interpretations...your poem so beautiful and after the angels read your words they'll be out and about being known...i feel the presence of of an angel, a gentle stroke graces my cheek every now and then...

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  17. beautiful hedge...love how you bring it around to a much more intimate level...after having described them so vividly...tongues of fire indeed...smiles.

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  18. Exquisite, Hedgie. Bones of fog and lightening, I just ate that up for dinner.

    Glad no orange or no blue! :)

    And the ending -- iron organza if ever there were some.

    xo

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  19. "...because they know everything,
    and need to feel nothing..."

    Ahh, angels. We know nothing of everything they are, which is why this 'epistemology' you wrote is so succinct in its angelic airiness, its clarity like notes that come from the spheres.

    But science, which epistemology is, fails when an angel falls indeed to find the beautiful daughters whose tongues blaze...especially of someone with pale wings we love.

    Magical, for me! Thank you, hedgewitch Joy!

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  20. very compelling, with your usual edgy edge. We need them or somehow to think of them and yet they serve as an allusion to the unknown...xxxj

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  21. Really...what more needs to be said? This is an amazing, inspiring write that speaks to all. I wonder if perhaps YOU do know angels? :) So very well enjoyed.

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  22. You wrote this while sick? May the angels take their time attending to you my dear! I like how you think out loud like that.

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  23. Hope your're feeling better today ... B.

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  24. I have long thought that co-mingling of DNA was most evident in teenagers. It begins to come to the fore at about age 12 and begins to recede at about age 20. That is what I know of angels now. That and they are always grazing at every refrigerator in sight, moving from friend house to friends house leaving a path of food destruction in their angelic wake.

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  25. the turn was thrilling! feel better soon!

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  26. I love angels..keep me afloat - my belief in em.

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  27. Beautiful work, love the whole thing, the second stanza really spoke to me - AND i really hope you feel better SOON!

    xx

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  28. We may not know, but we can dream...

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  29. yeah - angels are messengers and your poem carries a message as well...good write joy ann

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  30. Many thanks all, for the kind words and input. I'm gradually making the rounds, and enjoying my travels on the one stop caravan--something of a misnomer--there are over a hundred fifty stops up atm.

    (I'm much better today, btw, and thanks to all who expressed concern.)

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  31. "faith might be the least common" - this shows some insight into these koans... epistemologically speaking

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  32. i always believe from the time i was a little girl..i know angels..
    of course i do...smiles....very interesting to read late at night..makes me sleep with a grin on my face,..

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  33. As Rilke said, 'every angel if terrible.' This is a remarkable and intelligent poem which illuminates your brilliant choice of image with a shaft of sunshine which should have come from heaven.
    Many congratulations, James.

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  34. lovely photo to match wonderful words...there is a ethereal quality to this one..as I've had angels pop up in my thinking/writing as of late, I really appreciate your perspective...

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  35. a beautiful poem... amazing that you wrote it while sick! feel better soon.

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  36. Having the flu might have done something different to this poem! It's deep, complex, broad and delightful...plus provocative.

    I wonderful poem, hedgewitch. This will haunt me all day...and that is a compliment.

    Lady Nyo

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  37. I love angels, great theme to write about. Well done.

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  38. Yes another fine poem HW. Like that it's tidy free verse, ie you sticking to quintains, bar the tercet closure, which is appropriate - and made me stop in my track and think.. good job.

    Warmest Salad

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  39. Many Many thanks to everyone who has stopped by and commented.

    @Luke I hate it now when my free verse isn't tidy--I blame those #$@^! sonnets. I'm smiling at your comment, friend.

    @Brendan I'm most willing to discuss this poem, my point of view on angels, my royal we or otherwise, but as I've said before, not in the comment thread. You may click on my profile and email me any time you'd like to discuss things at that kind of level. Sorry I was too sick when you posted your comment to get back with you and say this then.

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  40. Truly magical! I love the portrait you paint of these creatures of superstition and hope.

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  41. What a beautiful poem! Knowing/not-knowing--this epistemology--of the mythological and the real is so compelling. Angels, perhaps masquerading as humans, do indeed seem to drop into our earthly realm. And we know nothing of how they mesmerize. The second to last stanza is gorgeous of course, but it's the ending, the opening up of what we do not and cannot know that I find most compelling. Fantastic poem, Hedge!

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  42. The image is perfect as is the poem
    and who knows...

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  43. Loved it all, especially the last line! And yes, the two are so beautiful! More beautiful than all of the demons and the angels.

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  44. I was thinking as I was reading this that I know far more about demons than angels when you summed it all up for me with that last stanza. Wonderful poem!

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg